Sunday, April 19, 2009

Blithe Spirit

photo: Robert J. Saferstein

Apart from Jayne Atkinson, whose crisp line readings drive the production, and Susan Louise O'Connor, whose clowning as The Maid just about steals the show, this star-powered revival's principal cast is less than ideal. Generally bland Rupert Everett often lapses into sourness, Christine Ebersole oversells youthful playfulness to the point of making her character seem dangerously close to mentally ill, and Angela Lansbury, despite the audience's enormous good will and delight at seeing her on stage again, is more cutesy than eccentric. Yet the revival (directed by Michael Blakemore) is reasonably entertaining anyhow, mostly because the play can still charm and amuse even in a less than buoyant production.

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