Driftwood Players

"Blithe Spirit" May 1990

By Noel Coward, Directed by Gary Morean

Annice Hogsette: (Ruth) Ron Hertel: (Charles)

Micki Colwell: (Mrs. Bradman) Tonja Myers: (Edith) Annice Hogsette

Tonja Myers

 

Annice Hogsette, Ken Van Dine: (Dr. Bradman)

Ron Hertel, Margaret Tingwall: (Elvira) Annice Hogsette

Geri Reynolds: (Madame Arcati) Ron Hertel

Ron Hertel, Annice Hogsette

Margaret Tingwall

Pictures by Larry Tingwall


From The Daily World Thursday, May 3, 1990

English farce is a fresh delight

By Carol McPherson
Daily World correspondent

    The Driftwood Players have a hit on there hands.

    Its current production, Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit," is smooth, entertaining and elegant. It opened last Saturday to a large and appreciative audience and will be playing the next three weekends at the Driftwood Playhouse, 3rd and I streets, Aberdeen.

    Director Gary Morean has chosen an excellent cast. He has also dealt quite well with the improbable situations and exaggerated characters of this traditional English farce. The characters are rarely tiresome, even at their most extreme.

    "Blithe Sprite" opens in the living room of Ruth and Charles Condomine, who have invited Dr. and Mrs. Bradman and the psychic Madame Arcati into their home for a sťance.

    The Condomines and Bradmans don't for a minute believe that Madame Arcati has any real powers, but they are willing to go along with her so that Charles can get material for a book he is writing.

    The eccentric Madame Arcati surprises everyone, including herself, when she manages to bring Charles Condomine's first wife, Elvira, back from the dead. A more difficult problem then arises: figuring out how to send her back to the spirit world.

    Geri Reynolds is thoroughly entertaining as the inept Madame Arcati. Her stage presence and comic delivery make the most of a great character role. Geri played Elvira in Driftwood's 1974 production of "Blithe Spirit."

    Margaret Tingwall plays Elvira in the current production. She clearly conveys the mischievous, seductive personality of a women who wants to win back her husband, even though she has been dead for seven years and he has remarried. Margaret even succeeds in looking glamorous in spite of her ghostly gray make-up.

    Ron Hertel is a fine choice for the challenging role of Charles Condomine, the husband who has to deal with two jealous wives at once. Since only he can see and hear Elvira, the conversations get tricky, and often humorous as well.

    Annice Hogsette gives an excellent performance as Ruth, Charles' second wife. She can portray a gracious, cultured Englishwoman one moment, and a jealous terror the next. She and Ron have the bulk of the dialogue in this play, and they handle it well.

    Tonja Myers received plenty of laughs as the awkward maid. The audience also enjoyed Micki Colwell's portrayal of the scatterbrained Mrs. Bradman. Ken Van Dine turned in a solid performance as Dr. Bradman.

    The overall atmosphere on the stage of this production contributes much to its success. The set is breathtaking. Ernie Ingram and his crew deserve a round of applause for their hard work and attention to detail. The special effects also delighted the audience.

    Ann McCabe has scored a success with costumes of the 1940's. Margaret Tingwall has created striking '40's hairstyles. They, as well as the hardworking makeup artist, have helped the characters come alive: from the elegant Condomines and Bradmans, to the ethereal Elvira, to the unconventional Madame Arcati.

    Written in 1941, "Blithe Sprite" remains one of Noel Coward's most popular plays. It's pleasing structure and dialogue have once again given local actors a chance to demonstrate their talents.

    Commenting on the "purpose" of his plays, Coward once wrote, "I am not particularly interested in reforming the human race. Indeed, if I did there would be nothing to write about."

    Sometimes it's nice to see a play just for fun. It feels good to laugh, and it's heart-warming to see a room full of people relaxed and smiling. "Blithe Sprite" provides that kind of entertainment.

    Performances continue Friday and Saturday evenings through May 19th, with a 2 p.m. matinee on May 19yh as well. Tickets are likely to sell out early, especially for the final weekend when the local musical productions will have ended.

    Tickets are available at Captain's Cove at the South Shore Mall and City Drug in Aberdeen, Harbor Drug in Hoquiam, and Monte Drug in Montesano.


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