Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" is a tour de force of farcical fantasy, utterly trivial but nonetheless refreshingly witty and engaging. FJC's opening night production of "Blithe Spirit" captured the trivia but largely failed to be either witty or engaging.
"Blithe Spirit" should spring to life when Charles Condomine's late, ex-wife Elvira is sprung from death by chance, but Jeanne Rowe's portrayal of Elvira is as pallid as her gray pallor. Her lines are delivered matter of factly and her facial expression rarely changes from the half-hearted smile one sees on the face of someone determined to appear friendly 24 hours a day.
Far more polished are performances by Diane Perez as Madame Arcati and Cordelia Moore as Ruth Condomine, Charles' present wife. Miss Perez' incantations ate enhanced by intricately choreographed, humorously exotic stage movements and almost erotic moaning. Miss Moore's Ruth is the polar opposite of Miss Rowe's Elvira; her delivery is timely and her actions well-motivated. By contrast to Miss Rowe's Elvira, Ruth seems vivacious.
Characters Not Recreated
Ron Coffman performs competently as Charles Condomine, but fails to recreate the| off-handed, ironic temperament of Coward's Condomine. Kendra Davis as Mrs. Bradman shows herself to be a master of the "nod and lip sync" school of stage business (it's awfully annoying to watch actors cope poorly with directions to feign conversation in group scenes.) Ronald Steed's Dr. Bradman is little better, rolling his eyes too often toward the audiences in bemused skepticism. Of the lesser characters, only Edith (played by Beverly Hudelson) is satisfactory; her perky maid is an amusing, nervous giggle.
Make-up and Set
Make-up is excellent to inadequate.Jeanne Rowe's ghostly gray skin and hair completely fulfill one's preconception of ghostliness. On the other hand, Mr. and Mrs Condomine's make-up does not reflect their (middle) age.
Todd Glen's living room set provides the small arena stage with the illusion of comfortable expansiveness.
Better PerformancesIt should be noted that opening night performances are not generally the best of a play's run. Performances today and tomorrow may better reflect the play's comic vein and the cast's potential.
Curtain time is 8 p.m. Student admission is free with: A.S. Card.1 without. Non-student admission is $1.50.