Review: Blithe Spirit

Blithe Spirit, 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2pm Sundays; $15-$25. Woodland Opera House, 340 2nd Street in Woodland; (530) 666-9617; Through November 5.
Rated 4.0

In celebration of the season, the Woodland Opera House presents Noel Coward’s spooky ghost story Blithe Spirit, which the playwright called an “improbable farce.”

In an unforgettable performance, Lenore Sebastian plays the wacky British medium, Madame Arcati, brought to the home of author Charles Condomine to perform a seance. The author is hoping to get material on professional charlatans for an upcoming book. He and his guests look on the experience as a lark.

Unexpectedly, Madame Arcati, channeling spirits with dances and flailing arms, manages to resurrect the ghost of Condomine’s first wife Elvira (Analise Langford-Clark), which causes no end of problems for his second wife Ruth (Patricia Glass), who at first thinks Elvira is a figment of Charles’ alcohol-induced imagination.

The script is very funny, though sometimes the upper-crust British accents are hard to decipher). Amidst the humor, the test of the security of Condomine’s second matrimony and his realization of what went wrong with his first provide a sharp examination of the challenges that occur in a marriage.

This is an excellent, fun production by a first-rate cast under the direction of Robert Cooner, and just the thing to ease the audience into the Halloween season.

Recommended for audiences ages 8 and up, children under 4 not allowed.