Blithe Spirit

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Ella Monte-Brown, Heidi Armbruster and Quinn Mattfeld star in Blithe Spirit, now playing at The Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis. Photo by Dan Norman.

BY: JACOB FROELICH

If a bit of British humor, some magic and a good belly laugh tickle your fancy then Blithe Spirit may be just the show for you. The farce is now playing at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. A cast of unlikely characters combine to create a tale of misfortune that had the audience in fits of laughter. Written in 1941 by Noël Coward, it is a show that stands up to the test of time and entertains audiences still. While you may not have heard of it before, it has all the elements for an entertaining couple of hours; quick witted dialogue, a few comic queens and more stage tricks than meet the eye create a hilarious and memorable performance.

Performed on the McGuire Proscenium Stage, you will be instantly drawn into the set even before you take your seat. The attention to detail, and elaborate furnishings create a mansion of grandeur and are an entertaining ravishment for the eyes all on its own. I’d recommend getting there a few minutes early just to take in the majesty of the work of scenic designer Jo Winiarski. The costumes are a perfect complement to the design as well, Meg Neville clearly has an eye for 1940’s fashion and not a piece is out of place.

Having not been familiar with the story prior to attending, I was entertained with the story overall. While admittedly the story takes just a bit of time to build in the beginning, it is filled with little jokes and bits to warm up the audience along the way. Quinn Mattfeld plays a handsome and charming Charles Condomine, a wealthy author and loyal if not aloof husband. His wife Ruth and late wife Elvira (Heidi Armbruster & Elia Monte-Brown respectively) take center stage throughout the show in a hilariously frustrating series of outbursts and apparitions. The source of all the madness and the key to resolving Mr. Condomine’s predicament lies in the hands of Madame Arcati, the local medium. Sally Wingert delivers and delights in the role and between her wardrobe, eccentric zest for her craft and her trances she is both adored by the audience for the exact reasons she is mistrusted by the cast. Local celebrity Suzanne Warmanen bumbles about the stage as a daft yet lovable housemaid and the rest of the cast performs admirably.

More could be said about the plot and the circumstances that bring the characters together, but it’s one of those shows that packs surprises and developments best experienced in person. So head down to the Guthrie one of these frigid nights, warm up with a nice drink and enjoy a few laughs with a holiday friend.

Performance Dates: November 25, 2017 – January 14, 2018. Visit guthrietheater.org for the complete performance schedule. Location: Guthrie Theater – McGuire Proscenium Stage 818 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415 Pricing: Single tickets start at $29 for adults; $14.50 for children. (Discounts for students and seniors available) Tickets: Tickets may be purchased online at guthrietheater.org Guthrie Box Office: 612.377.2224 or 877.44.STAGE Box Office hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on non-performance days) Group Sales: 612.225.6244 or 877.225.6211

ASL, Audio Described and Open Captioned performances are available on select dates. If you have specific program questions or need an accommodation, please contact the Accessibility Office by phone at 612.225.6390 (voice) or 612.225.6391 (TTY) or email at accessibility@guthrietheater.org.

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