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Blithe Spirit, by Noel Coward
Just a few Notes . . .
Saturday, May 21, 2005
-1.0
The Director, Robert Egizio can't really be faulted in casting from a pool of actors that he possibly knew from his days at Actor's Express, but in several instances it hurt him. I also had the sense in watching this that he over controlled his blocking and suffocated his actors from having the least amount of fun in what should have been a play filled with funny witty repartee. The actress playing Madame Arcati seemed to have the most difficulty presenting her lines and character and was apparently directed to adhere to the "bigger is better" style of acting.

Egizio's execution of Elvira was a puzzle to me as well, as his casting choice fell short in presenting Elvira's coquettish and flighty nature. A sad thumbs down also for her costume and makeup, Elvira is written to be a sexy apparition, unfortunately she appeared more like a corpse in a prim bridesmaids gown.

One directing gaffe I can't resist mentioning involved the maid. She completely upstaged the other actors in one scene by pouring and serving each of 4 cups of coffee with a deliberate intensity usually reserved for dismantling a soon to blow up atomic bomb. Lighten up, for god's sake. . .

OK, now that I've vented my spleen a bit, some good stuff. The quality and caliber of the actors were uniformly impressive, delivering their dialogue and movements crisply and precisely albeit a bit too disciplined. Having played his part once I can assure you that Mark Gray did a wonderful job with his lines. He made the scene where he is chatting gaily along while mixing dry martini's look deceptively effortless. Brenda Norbeck hit her character squarely on the mark as well. The lighting, sound and sets were also nicely executed.

I would have enjoyed the play more if I could have seen the actors have a little more fun with their roles and if their characters were a bit more fleshed out. There's also the possibility that I've compared Egizio's Elvira a bit too unfavorably with the actress I performed with once. Preview nerves could have been a factor here as well, so here's hoping that as the show hits its stride it will rise to the quality of it's performers.

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