Though the Noel Coward centennial was last year, the public still seems to have an appetite for the works of the British master. Off-Broadway's Pearl Theatre Company production of Blithe Spirit has proven so popular that the troupe has extended it an extra week, to Oct. 22. The urbane comedy began previews on Aug. 31 and opened Sept. 11.
In Blithe Spirit, one of Coward's biggest successes, novelist Charles Condomine, living with his second wife, Ruth, invites a local medium, Madame Arcati, to his house. His intention is to do some research into the spirit world for his new book. But he gets more than he bargained for when Arcati conjures up the ghost of Charles first wife, Elvira. Caught between one live wife and one dead wife -- both jealous of the other -- Charles thinks matters couldn't be worse. That is, until he's saddled with the ghosts of two dead wives.
Stephen Hollis will direct a cast including Glynis Bell, Joanne Camp, Hope Chernov, Dominic Cuskern, Delphi Harrington, Doug Stender and Elizabeth Y. Urenect.
The rest of the Pearl season runs as follows:
Shakespeare's Richard III, Nov. 2-Dec. 17
Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, Jan. 11-Feb. 25, 2001
A Will of His Own by Jean-Francois Fegnard, March 29-April 9
Andromache by Racine, April 26-May 7 Tickets are $28-$25. The Pearl is located at 80 St. Mark's Place in Manhattan. For more information, call (212) 598-9802.
--By Robert Simonson