Alison Steadman will return to the London stage in Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Apollo theatre from 2 March to 18 June 2011.
Thea Sharrock’s production for Theatre Royal Bath will star Steadman as improbable clairvoyant Madame Arcati, hired by novelist Charles and his second wife Ruth to entertain guests at a dinner party. They have presumed the preposterous woman is a fraud, but when Charles’s first wife Elvira appears, visible only to him and determined to sabotage his current marriage, life – and the afterlife – begin to get complicated.
This is the second time Sharrock has directed Coward’s 1941 comedy for Theatre Royal Bath. Her previous production came to the West End in 2004 featuring a cast that included Penelope Keith, Aden Gillett and Amanda Drew.
Steadman was last seen on the London stage in Alan Bennett’s Enjoy, another Theatre Royal Bath production that had a successful run in London in 2009. Her stage work includes a Laurence Olivier Award-winning performance in the original production of The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice in 1993, though she is probably best known for her screen work, which includes several films by Mike Leigh and a comedy turn in Gavin And Stacey.
Director Sharrock’s work includes recent productions of The Misanthrope, Equus, A Voyage Round My Father, Cloud Nine and the current production of After The Dance at the National Theatre.