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Blithe Spirit starring Jennifer Saunders

27th January 2020 - 1st February 2020



Jennifer Saunders

Lisa Dillon     Emma Naomi    Geoffrey Streatfeild     

Simon Coates     Lucy Robinson     Rose Wardlaw 

star in

Blithe Spirit

by Noël Coward 

Directed by Richard Eyre

Designed by Anthony Ward   Lighting Designed by Howard Harrison 

Jennifer Saunders is one of the UK’s most popular comic actresses. Her gleefully funny performance as the eccentric clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, delighted both critics and audiences alike when the production opened in Theatre Royal Bath’s 2019 Summer Season. With a distinguished creative team who have won a plethora of awards between them, this is a Blithe Spirt full of sparkling and spirit-lifting hijinks.

Novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth are literally haunted by a past relationship when an eccentric medium – Madame Arcati – 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.

Jennifer Saunders is much loved for the sketch show French and Saunders, for which she and Dawn French received a BAFTA fellowship in 2009, and for the hit comedy series and subsequent film, Absolutely Fabulous, which she both starred in and wrote.

Running time: approx. 2 hours 30 minutes, including interval.


‘Absolutely fabulous… comic gold. Jennifer Saunders is a delight’ Sunday Express

‘Jennifer Saunders… brilliantly funny. Enormous life affirming fun’ Times

‘Jennifer Saunders… a revelation. A  fabulous Coward revival. Richard Eyre has cast to perfection across the board’  Daily Telegraph

‘Jennifer Saunders gives a brilliantly physical display of comic clowning’ Sunday Times

‘Coward’s sublimely crafted dialogue. Jennifer Saunders… a splendid Madam Arcati’  Mail on Sunday


★★★★                 ★★★★                 ★★★★                   ★★★★                      ★★★★

Times                Telegraph             Daily Mail              Observer              Sunday Express

Production Photographs © Nobby Clark



27th January 2020
1st February 2020
Event Categories:


Festival Theatre
Grange Road
Malvern, WR14 3HB


Mon Eve & Wed Mat: £42.56, £40.32, £36.96, £33.60 & £30.24
Tues-Thurs Eves: £44.80, £42.56, £39.20, £35.84 & £32.48
Fri & Sat Eves: £47.04, £44.80, £41.44, £38.08 & £34.72
Members discounts apply
Concessions £2 off
Prices include 12% booking fee
Show Times:
Evenings at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm

Event Reviews

  • Helen

    Had a lovely evening watching Blithe Spirit, the performers were excellent, you could hear every word as clear as a bell. The special effects were wonderful!

  • Choice Radio Worcester

    Just a couple of years after it was written, David Lean made a film version of Noel Coward's comedy about the afterlife, Blithe Spirit, which starred Margaret Rutherford in the pivotal role of the "spiritualist" Madame Arcati. The new version now touring and heading for London stars the equally well-loved Jennifer Saunders in the role, one which could have been written for her and not a million miles from that other famous character she played, Edina Monsoon, as she shares the same flamboyant, colourful nature and a complete unawareness of what others think of her.

    Arriving on stage in a whirlwind dressed in a crossover of hippy and Indian attire, her presence and deportment as well as a certain "personal" problem certainly makes her stand out from the couple who has invited her to dinner. There is another reason for her visit - unbeknown to her - which is to provide material and references for Charles's next book via an organised séance.

    The séance takes place and to the surprise of Charles and his wife Ruth and the Bradmans, their guests, up pops his first wife Elvira, a vision of ghostly beauty that unfortunately only poor Charles can see and hear... Madame Arcati is, of course, rather impressed that she has managed to conjure up this vision from the past and equally somewhat put out that she was tricked into attending just for the purpose of providing fodder for a book. Once wife Ruth has been convinced that Elvira is indeed there, if only in spiritual form, battle commences…

    Although all the action takes place in a single and rather sumptuously-decorated large living room, with walls lined with fully laden bookcases and other items which are used in various spooky special effects, the play itself is officially split into three acts and seven scenes, although there is just the one interval, with the curtain falling a number of times to indicate a change of period over the story's duration of a couple of days

    Whilst no doubt trading somewhat on having a famous name taking the role of Madame Arcati, the play certainly benefits from having a whole cast who are very much up to the task of bringing one of Coward's play (and apparently one of his favourites) to life and to a new audience, both in the provinces and in the West End.

    It may have been written and first performed way back in the 1940s - and no doubt provided some welcome light relief during the war years - but the show remains as funny today and certainly does not have the image of one written 80 years ago and in a different age. Whilst it does have some visible remnants of that era - the gramophone, for example - it could just as easily have been transported to a more contemporary location and it would still be equally as funny, which shows the strength and durability of Coward's almost timeless script.

    This spirit provides an intoxicating evening's entertainment for sure!

  • Tonia

    What a brilliant evening.. we loved this production!
    Jennifer Saunders was just amazing.. as were all of the cast!
    Thank you ❤️
    Tonia .

  • Marcia

    Expecting less hackneyed characterisations. Disappointed in the whole thing. Could not hear all of Ruth’s lines.

  • Alison

    Great fun, well acted by all. However, I loved the maid, a small part but she was brilliant

  • Sharon

    Omi and I thoroughly enjoyed the play, the passion from the whole cast was mesmerising. We were roaring with laughter throughout. Thank you for a great performance.

  • Pauline

    Excellent production. The whole cast was excellent but Jennifer Saunders and Rose Wardlaw were so funny they were a joy to watch.

  • Julie

    Excellent performance by all of the cast. The special effects were wonderful. The maid was brilliant. This was only a small part but was very well played. Jennifer Saunders was a delight. Well done to all the cast. My first visit to Malvern theatre. A very enjoyable afternoon out. Thank you.

  • Tonia

    What a brilliant evening.. we loved this production!
    Jennifer Saunders was just amazing.. as were all of the cast!
    Thank you ❤️
    Tonia .

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