Blithe Spirit Starring Jennifer Saunders to Tour Prior to West End Run

Jennifer Saunders in Blithe Spirit. UK tour and West End. Credit Nobby Clark
Jennifer Saunders in Blithe Spirit. UK tour and West End. Credit Nobby Clark

Theatre Royal Bath Productions, Lee Dean and Jonathan Church Productions have announced that Noël Coward’s classic comedy Blithe Spirit, directed by Sir Richard Eyre and starring Jennifer Saunders, will return next year for a UK tour followed by a strictly limited 6-week engagement at the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre following a celebrated reception in Bath earlier this summer.

The new tour opens at Theatre Royal Brighton where it runs from 22 to 25 January and will then visit Malvern Theatre from 27 January to 1 February, Theatre Royal Bath from 4 to 8 February, Cambridge Arts Theatre from 10 to 15 February, Richmond Theatre from 17 to 22 February and Norwich Theatre Royal from 24 to 29 February before arriving in the West End at the Duke of York’s Theatre from 5 March to 11 April 2020.

Jennifer Saunders, one of the UK’s most popular comic actors, will revive her role as the preposterous clairvoyant Madame Arcati. She is joined by original cast members Geoffrey Streatfeild who will star as Charles, Lisa Dillon as Ruth Condomine, Emma Naomi as Elvira, Simon Coates as Dr Bradman, Lucy Robinson as Mrs Bradman, and Rose Wardlaw as Edith. The production brings together a distinguished and multi-award-winning creative team, directed by former National Theatre director Sir Richard Eyre with design by Anthony Ward, lighting by Howard Harrison, sound by John Leonard and illusions by Paul Kieve.

Written in 1941, Coward’s inventive, witty and meticulously engineered comedy proved light relief and a popular distraction at the height of World War II when it was first staged. The show had a record-breaking run in the West End and on Broadway and remains one of the playwright’s most popular works.

This new production opened in June as part of Artistic Director Jonathan Church’s second Summer Season at Theatre Royal Bath where it played to sell out houses and was widely praised by critics and public alike. It is the third play from Jonathan Church’s Summer Season programmes to transfer to the West End following last year’s 50th anniversary production of Arthur Miller’s The Price at Wyndham’s Theatre and Switzerland at the Ambassadors.

Novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth are literally haunted by a past relationship when an eccentric medium inadvertently conjures up the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, at a séance. When she appears, visible only to Charles, and determined to sabotage his current marriage, life – and the afterlife – get complicated.

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