Email review by an audience member, Susan Mackall
I am writing to express my delight in St Nicolas players production of Blithe Spirit last night, (Thursday). It was my birthday and I am visiting Angela in Spalding, she announced we were attending the local theatre but I was disappointed to see it was an amature production. I had seen Blithe Spirit once before as an amature show and was thinking that I was in for a rather dull night.
How wrong could I have been. From the first moment, taking our seats amongst quite a small audience, I wondered that perhaps we were late. A maid was on stage tidying and moving the props. I quickly realised this was a preamble to the show starting and thought it was a very clever idea, one which I had not seen before. What a lovely young actress, (Emily Deans I see from my program) who worked hard all through the play changing the scenes as there were no curtains at all.
The set was lovely, I really liked your attention to detail, the authentic furniture, old pictures, a working gramophone and wall lights, such attention to detail I would have only expected from a professional production. I understand you designed it yourself, congratulations it was superb. I felt like I was sitting in the room with the Condomines.
I particularly liked the effect of having Elvira appear in the mirror and when she finally appeared on stage in that wonderful dress I could tell that Amber Sinclair was a talented actress as she took this rather small role and loaded her part with movement, facial expressions and posture which I felt was evocative of a women of the time. The posture of the other actresses was not as good, but I suppose this is difficult to re-create.
Madam Arcati was also a role I think amature groups find hard to do well. In your case I think she was really well perceived. The costumes were just right, but also her use of accent and the way she spoke her lines really made me believe in the character. I laughed out loud several times just at some of the looks Mandie Collier gave other characters and at her movements, I really think she was having a great time on stage.
The Condomines and The Bradmans were also played very well. Ruth and Mrs Bradman were well cast and with clever use of costume changes you were able to get the 1940's feel. I think Charles could have had a better accent as I don't remember hearing the character came from Yorkshire, perhaps a little more work on the nice clipped accent I associate with Noel Coward would have made Mike Barron's character a little more believable. Saying that I think the chemistry between the actors was evident and although the second half was not as well paced as the first half there were plenty of comic moments and I was entertained from first to last.
I was really impressed with the floating table, I really couldn't see the wires and how did all the furniture and pictures move about on their own, very clever of you. The final destruction of the set was good fun and the music, from Noel Coward himself, accompanying the show enhanced the action. I was tempted to sing along to some of the songs.
I truly hope you get bigger audiences to your final two nights, I have to say you have made me think again about supporting more amature groups, I had no idea it was going to be so good and at such a lovely friendly venue too. I will ensure Angela allows me to visit again when you are next directing a play in Spalding. You should be very proud, well done.