Blithe Spirit at the Warehouse Theatre, Ilminster

PICTURE: Jackie Bowyer plays Madame Arcati in Ilminster Entertainments Society's production of Blithe Spirit.

PICTURE: Jackie Bowyer plays Madame Arcati in Ilminster Entertainments Society's production of Blithe Spirit.

First published in What's On

A HIGHLY professional psychic features in the plot for Ilminster Entertainments Society’s latest production at the Warehouse Theatre.

Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit is running from Wednesday, March 28, to Saturday, March 31, with productions starting at 7.30pm.

The play, which takes its title from from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem ‘To a Skylark’, was written in just five days during one of the darkest periods of the Second World War, and became his own favourite play.

Coward wrote the piece during a holiday he took with actress Joyce Carey to Portmeirion on the coast of Snowdonia after his London office and apartment had been destroyed in The Blitz.

He wrote it straight through from beginning to end while staying at the Fountain 2 (Upper Fountain) suite and only two lines of dialogue were removed before its first production in London.

It ran from 1941 for over four years – offering a wonderful anecdote to depression, while creating a new long-run record for non-musical British plays of 1,997 performances.

The hilarious, improbable farce concerns smug socialites Charles and Ruth Condomine who invite eccentric local psychic Madame Arcati to hold a séance for them.

Charles is a sceptical writer wanting to do a little research for his latest book but, the far-from-bogus Arcarti, actually brings forth the ghost of his glamorous first wife, Elvira, which is where the fun begins.

There can have been few more humorous situations in the history of comedy than this of a man caught between two bossy wives – one dead and one alive!

Tickets are now on sale – and available from Lanes Garden Shop in Ilminster or via the theatre box office on 07943-779880.

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