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As the first Noel Coward show to come to America in almost five years, "Blithe Spirit" can only increase the already fabulous reputation of its author. He has long since reached the status of master-craftsman and his latest play is of the best in the art of comedy. Its story is unbelievably impossible, but it is so deftly handled that it seems as though it might happen to any one of us if we were to dabble in the occult. To tell the story would be a sin against your enjoyment of the play so the rest of this review will be confined to superlatives about the production.
Remarkable as the play is, it is fully equalled by the excellent cast. Each of the seven actors turns in the kind of polished performance that is so rare in Boston, the city of beginnings and endings, but of no long runs. The cast is obviously hand-picked, and it is hard to single out any actor for special mention since all were good. Mildred Natwick deserves extra praise for her superb portrayal of the elderly, but energetic, medium whose series of trances raise hob with the spiritual world. Leorora Corbett, as the product of one of these trances, plays the blithe spirit to perfection. The rest are also swell, even down to the maid, whose small part is a true Coward gem.
This combination of good acting and good writing is a rare thing on the modern stage. Almost every play has its dull spots and inessential characters, but "Blithe Spirit" has neither. Every moment of the two and a half hours is superb, and the audience is helpless with laughter from the opening curtain to the end. "Blithe Spirit" may well be the most hilarious farce ever written; certainly it is the funniest our generation has ever seen.
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