photo of Ian Merrill Peakes and Alicia Roper by Mark Garvin
Walnut Street Theatre’s 213th Anniversary Season wraps up with Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit. Originally set for a January opening, the theatre made the decision to postpone the production in order to keep everyone safe. And let me tell you- this show is was worth the wait.
The vintage set by Scenic Designer Roman Tatarowicz will whisk you back to 1930s and into the living room of novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife, Ruth. As America’s oldest theatre, Walnut is just perfect for this eerie, classic comedy. Real life couple, Ian Merrill Peakes and Karen Peakes, play Charles and Ruth in an over-the-top, animated way that will have you laughing anytime the two of them have an exchange… especially when you find out about the tension between them!
Charles is in need of inspiration for his new novel and invites the quirky medium, Madame Arcati, to perform a séance for the Condomines and their friends Dr. and Mrs. Bradman (Scott Langdon and Susan Riley Stevens). Who appears? Charles’ first wife, Elvira…in the form of a ghost! She confesses that she is still in love with him and the entirety of the place revolves around trying to send her back to the supernatural world. She won’t budge and, of course, hilarity ensues!
Mary Martello stands out as Madame Arcati. You’ll smile at her antics. Alicia Roper as Elvira is equally fun to watch. Both play their roles so well. Amanda Jill Robinson is wonderful as the Condomine family housekeeper, Edith. These women get a lot of laughs from the audience.
The show is set in three acts with the curtain going down between scenes. The Walnut outdid themselves with creating a quality, timeless production. You’ll truly miss out if you skip Blithe Spirit! Tickets are available here.