Blithe Spirit, with Alison Steadman as Madame Arcati, to Open at London's Apollo in March 2011

News   Blithe Spirit, with Alison Steadman as Madame Arcati, to Open at London's Apollo in March 2011
Noel Coward's classic comedy Blithe Spirit is heading back to the West End, with Alison Steadman set to play eccentric clairvoyant Madame Arcati. Performances will begin March 2, 2011, at the Apollo Theatre, prior to an official opening March 9, for a limited run through June 18.

Alison Steadman
Alison Steadman

Thea Sharrock, currently represented at the National Theatre by her production of Terence Rattigan's After the Dance, will return to direct the play that she previously staged at the West End's Savoy Theatre in 2004, when Penelope Keith played the orle of Madame Arcati. Designs are by Hildegarde Bechtler and lighting by Mark Henderson. It is being produced under the auspices of Theatre Royal Bath Productions.

Blithe Spirit, originally produced in 1941, revolves around novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth who are literally haunted by a past relationship when an eccentric medium manages to conjure up the ghost of Charles’s neurotic first wife, Elvira, at a seance. They have assumed the preposterous Madame Arcati is a fraud who will simply entertain their dinner guests with a little chicanery and supply Charles with material for his forthcoming novel. But when Elvira appears, visible only to Charles, and is determined to sabotage his current marriage, life – and the afterlife – begin to get complicated.

Steadman was last seen in the West End in Alan Bennett's Enjoy. Other stage roles including creating the roles of Beverly in Mike Leigh's Abigail Party (also seen in the subsequent TV incarnation), and as the mother in Jim Cartwright's The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, winning an Olivier Award for the latter. Her films include Mike Leigh's "Life is Sweet" and "Topsy Turvy" and the film version of "Shirley Valentine." TV credits include "Fat Friends," "Selling Hitler," The Singing Detective," "Pride and Prejudice" and "Gavin and Stacey." Sharrock's previous West End productions include Equus with Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths (also on Broadway), A Voyage Around My Father with Derek Jacobi, and The Misanthrope with Keira Knightley and Damian Lewis.

Tickets go on sale June 30. Further casting details will be announced shortly.

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