For those who have affection for England in between the world wars, Blithe Spirit proves to be a pleasant surprise at Scarborough’s community theatre.
A classic comedy written by English playwright Noel Coward, the script is filled with wit, flamboyance and cheekiness.
Sticking to the roots of Coward’s script, the entire play takes place in the setting of the living room of the protagonist Charles Condomine’s house in Kent, England.
Much of the play’s most comical moments are of the clairvoyant Madame Arcati, who Condomine invited to his house to conduct an attempt to communicate with spirits.
Elizabeth Van Wyck, the actress who plays Arcati, is downright delightful and outrageously entertaining. With her head of massive curls, dwarf-like stature and strangely exotic oriental costumes, she’s an obvious eye-catcher onstage.
Her exuberant energy and long spans of chatter makes her the most dramatic character out of all. The presence of this undoubtedly talented actress attests to the fact that there should be many more Scarborough residents who should support these community productions.
On the night of Oct. 14, the theatre was only half full. Most in the audience were elderly couples.
It came as a mild surprise when most of them laughed out loud to some sexually explicit jokes in the script.
The sexual undertones brought up by the character Elvira, Condomine’s first wife, adds an intensity of emotion into the play. Marisa King, the actress playing Elvira, is seductive and charming in many ways.
Appearing from a door at the top row of the theatre in a silvery gown and sparkling accessories, she makes her statement as the gorgeous but corrupt ghost antagonist from the start.
King is successful in portraying the temperamental and annoying woman who always manages to get her way through manipulating the male protagonist Condomine. Being the youngest on stage, she also inserts a fresh stimulus into the old-fashioned and classic play.
Although there are certain primitive elements in Scarborough’s community theatre, such as the changing of scenes enacted simply by dimming the lights and volunteers dressed in black moving furniture around, lack of variations in lighting, a limited selection of costumes. The ending technical scene wowed the crowd when vases were being thrown on the floor and tables turned over without any actual person touching the objects.
Just another indication that the Scarborough Theatre Guild contains more theatrical surprises than what an average resident would expect.