In order to observe a spiritualist first-hand for a planned novel, writer Charles Condomine (Edwards) and wife Ruth (Dee) invite friends the Bradmans to dinner and a séance with local clairvoyant Madame Arcati (Lansbury), whom they are certain is a fake. That all changes when the ghost of his first wife, Elvira is summoned - and overstays her welcome in the following days, causing a rift between Charles and his at first disbelieving and then jealous second wife. The feuding wives, ghost and flesh, hatch plot and counter plot to sabotage each other's and Charles' existence but will they succeed?
Lansbury, who was born in London in 1925 and is now 88, has spanned films, Broadway and television in a career of over half a century. She her Broadway debut in 1957 when she starred as Bert Lahr’s wife in the French farce Hotel Paradiso. Subsequent Broadway appearances include A Taste of Honey, Anyone Can Whistle, Mame, Dear World, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd and Deuce. She has won five Tony Awards. She was last seen on the London stage playing Gertrude in the National Theatre production of Hamlet in 1975. Other West End appearances include the British premiere of Gypsy in 1973 and Edward Albee's All over for the RSC in 1972. From 1984-1996 she starred as Jessica Fletcher, mystery-writing amateur sleuth, on "Murder, She Wrote," for which she won four Golden Globe Awards.
Dee won the Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Best Actress Awards for the leading role in Alan Aycbbourn's Comic Potential in the West End, which she subsequently reprised at New York's Manhattan Theater Club. She has also worked with Ayckbourn on House and Garden, and Dreams from a Summerhouse. Other West End appearances include Cats, My One and Only, Mack and Mabel and Harold Pinter's Betrayal. Last year she starred as Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! at the Curve Theatre, Leicester for which she received a TMA UK Theatre Award for Best Performance in a Musical, and she also appeared in NSFW at the Royal Court, for which she was Olivier nominated.
Edwards has appeared regularly at the National, including This House, Twelfth NIght, The Duchess of Malfi, All My Sons and Strange Interlude. Other recent credits include Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe and George V in The King's Speech at Wyndham's Theatre. He has also starred in The 39 Steps in the West End and on Broadway. Further cast is still be announced. Blithe Spirit is produced in the West End by Lee Dean, Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, John Frost, Steve Traxler and Charles Diamond.
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