Noël Coward’s 1941 comedy Blithe Spirit centres on novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth who are literally haunted by a past relationship when an eccentric medium manages to conjure up the ghost of Charles’s neurotic first wife, Elvira, at a seance.

They have assumed the preposterous Madame Arcati is a fraud who will simply entertain their dinner guests with a little chicanery and supply Charles with material for his forthcoming novel. But when Elvira appears, visible only to Charles, and is detemined to sabotage his current marriage, life – and the afterlife – begin to get complicated.

In this production of Blithe Spirit, Madame Arcati is played by Alison Steadman, a Laurence Olivier Award-winning actress who was last seen in the West End in Alan Bennett’s Enjoy. Her many screen appearances include the Mike Leigh films Abigail’s Party, Topsy Turvy and Life Is Sweet, as well as the sitcomes Fat Friends and Gavin And Stacey.

Blithe Spirit director Thea Sharrock is one of Theatreland’s rising stars who recent work includes productions of The Misanthrope, Equus and After The Dance.

For more about Blithe Spirit at the Apollo theatre read the First Night Feature or the Big Interview with Alison Steadman.

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