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Blithe Spirit: An Improbable Farce in Three Acts
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Blithe Spirit: An Improbable Farce in Three Acts

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  4,496 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
A comedy for a cast of 2 males and 5 females. The smash comedy hit of the London and Broadway stages, this much-revived classic from the playwright of Private Lives offers up fussy, cantakerous novelist Charles Condomine, re-married but haunted (literally) by the ghost of his late first wife, the clever and insistent Elvira who is called up by a visiting "happy medium", on ...more
Paperback, Acting Edition, 92 pages
Published 1968 by Samuel French, Inc. (first published 1941)
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Laura
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
When writer Charles Condomine invites a medium to hold a séance at his country house, he anticipates little more than some harmless fakery and a lot of good material for his new novel. Instead, he gets a ghostly visitation from his dead first wife, rather to the chagrin of his very much alive second one...

Noël Coward's classic comedy stars Roger Allam as Charles and Maggie Steed as Madame Arcati.
Adapted for radio by Bert Coules. Director Philip Franks. Producer Patrick Ray
...more
Hayat
This play reminds me of the 1992 movie Death Becomes Her with Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis, and Meryl Streep .

*RTC*
Ruby Granger
I enjoyed reading this play -- it certainly was rather humorous (Madame Arcarti is a marvellous character!). Coward explores superstition, the inequalities of the class system and the breaking of convention in this mystical piece.
Caroline Henry
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The more I read plays, the more I grow to enjoy how easy it is to read them. Everything is so straightforward because all you get to read is some of their movements and all dialogue. It’s a great change of pace from long chapter books.

But as a whole this play was very well written.
If you wanted to improve your vocabulary this play is a good one to read. I really did enjoy the British diction.

The characters were enjoyable to read about. All the characters are very complex and have very interest
...more
Kaethe
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's nothing like the ghost of the former spouse to really mess with your happy romance. Coward is so very funny.
Tony
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
BLITHE SPIRIT. (1941). Noel Coward. ****.
This was one of Coward’s more popular plays, though his famed wit came up a little short. I think that the success of the play depended more on his talent for setting and staging – along with casting his characters in unvarying roles. The story is about an event in the lives of Mr. & Mrs. Condomine, who are hosting a get-together for friends of theirs, Dr. & Mrs. Bradman. As entertainment for the evening, they have invited a Madame Arcati to the p
...more
Karen
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
I bought a copy of the play because I was to attend a performance in Toronto, at the Princess of Wales theatre. Reading the play was enjoyable but seeing it live, is even more entertaining. You gain an appreciation after reading then seeing a play, of the talent it takes for actors to make a character come to life. An excellent story and script are important, the perfect stage set, costumes and lighting enhance the performance however, it is the actors and their synergy that bring it all togethe ...more
Sketchbook
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Critic Louis Kronenberger, citing this as a classic
comedy, notes that it concerns "one of the most
refreshing menages a trois in modern theater." Souffled
madness, he adds, a blend of the urbane and the
fantastic sustain the high-farce. The medium, Mme
Arcati, who accidentally "calls back" a dead wife,
is a riotous role. Last seen on Bwy, Angela Lansbury,
poor dear, tottered and couldnt recall lines. The two
wives were dreary. Only Rupert Everett added seltzer.
Here's a play that provides a very funny
...more
Charles
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
I stage managed a production of this play. I remember it was a wonderful madcap comedy. I also remember the leads had a massive amount of lines to memorize. One time I was glad I didn't get cast.
Kyla
Edited: 16, November 2016

I watched this play, and it was hilarious! Not sure when I might read it, but it will probably be happening.
Carrie
Jun 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Overall very witty and amusing play. The plot is quirky but gripping and all the main characters are very three-dimensional. However, none of the characters are very likeable.
Erin Riddle
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gwen
May 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-stage
A delightful madcap (and maddeningly sexist at times) romp starring a "successful" medium, a rather annoying man, and his first and second wives. In 2015, I took off work to catch a matinee of the touring production with Angela Lansbury, and I regret nothing. She—and the entire cast—brought such sparkle and physical comedy to Coward's script. Much as with Private Lives, the script isn't great on its own: it needs an excellent cast to bring life and spirit (ha!) to the words.
Darcysmom
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blithe Spirit is one of my favorite plays. The humor runs the gamut of sweetly silly to down right vicious.
Charles and Ruth invite some friends over for a seance with Madame Arcati - unexpectedly she is able to call the spirit of Elvira, Charles's first wife, and chaos ensues.
Elvira is petulant, whimsical, and full of mischief. She also wants her husband back. Ruth is deeply suspicious of Elvira and her motives. Charles attempts to mediate between them, leading to some of the funniest scenes in
...more
Betul
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would love to see the performance of a "ghost" on stage! Sadly I can only read the play for now.
Melinda
Weird and wacky! I quick listen in the car, and the ending was rather surprising!
Sue
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining tale!
Seamus
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Read many times, in order to direct (first time directing!). Fun show, lots of laughs and witty banter.
J
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
A really entertaining comedy with a medium, a dead wife haunting a husband and current wife, and a supernatural menage a trois.
Tracy
Mar 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was cute.
Holly Gravel
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Mr COndomine has Madame Arcadi come to his home supposedly to get background for a novel. She conjures his former wife, making the current one jealous. At the end it seems he had another purpose: to have the former wife kill off the present one.
Realini
Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward
Light comedy

When we learn that ghosts will be present in a story, we expect horror and gore.

Especially today, when the screens are assaulted by Supernatural, Twilight and other vampire, spirits and X men productions.

As may be obvious, I am not a fan of series or movies with weird creatures, be them werewolves, spider men or whatever.

There are a few exceptions.
I am thinking E.T. and Wolf, played by the supreme Jack Nicholson.

Blithe Spirit is not about aggressive, blood
...more
Maureen
This was a fairly amusing play, with some quick and witty dialogue and interesting roles for women, but my god, these are some terrible human beings. It's not that I need my characters to all be moral, upstanding citizens--in fact, the imperfect ones are generally far more interesting--but this was just too much for me. Even adjusting for the latent misogyny (and casual racism) of the 1940s doesn't make this any more of a nostalgic look at the ups-and-downs of marriage. I know it's a farce, and ...more
Kathy
Setting: Country home – England?

Theme: humor; ghosts; infidelity; truth

Characters:
Charles Condomine: two times husband… two times widower; novelist; invites a medium to study her, to incorporate her into a novel;

Ruth Condomine: current wife of 5 years; they appear to be content and well suited;

Elveria Condomine: wife of 5 years, died 7 years ago; when medium goes into trance, she shows up, and can only be seen by Charles;

Dr. George and Violet Bradman: friends, who come to partake in the séance;
...more
Sheila Craig
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, classic
Listened to the Audible production. Good fun!
Elsa
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was probably the first play that i have read other than the ones that i have preformed. it was very interesting and i loved it very much! it was funny (it is a comedy), interesting, and well writen. i say that this book is one that can be read in one sitting and goes by quickly (but still gives the whole story). If it was a novella i would have loved it even more!
i recommend this book to those who like quick reads and those who need a book/play that needs to be done by tomorrow maybe??? any
...more
Kirstie
Jun 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of theater
Recommended to Kirstie by: mom
Well, Noel Coward might not be as funny as Oscar Wilde but this is still an enjoyable read. It's a little unexpected and also a bit wicked (I have a hard time even typing that word but I think it's sort of apt.) It takes place, like Wilde's plays, it takes place within the aristocracy and deals in sometimes flightly ways with their interpersonal relationships. There are times you laugh out loud even though it probably would be a tragedy if written differently. At the same time, it's not as much ...more
Bookreaderljh
It's been quite a while since I've read a play (and a fairly dated one at that). Still, it was an interesting read and a good example of Noel Coward's word play and plot development. It might be interesting on stage (and I pictured it that way as reading) but a little thin and credulous (incredulous?) for a reading pick. But it was on my list from the "No Obligation Book Club" readings, so I tackled it - and finished it quickly. Glad I just got it from the library, though, rather than purchasing ...more
Lee Kofman
I enjoyed the first two thirds of this play greatly, up until Ruth’s death – it was witty, imaginative and populated with lively characters. But then I was disappointed, because rather than developing the relationships within the budding ménage a troix, which is where the real freshness and challenge can potentially lay with all the psychological treasures embedded in such situations, Coward retreated to the easier plot development - the challenge of exorcising the ghosts of his both wives. This ...more
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Upcoming portrayal of Elvira 1 1 Apr 21, 2015 09:57PM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN# 0413771970 3 157 Dec 12, 2012 10:21AM  
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Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English actor, playwright and composer of popular music. Among his achievements, he received an Academy Certificate of Merit at the 1943 Academy Awards for "outstanding production achievement for In Which We Serve."
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“It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” 3464 likes
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