It’s Angela Lansbury. She’s 88. She has more charisma on stage than most people I ever saw. She is amazing. And she is (sorry, Stratford/Ontario) the best damn medium Madame Arcati I have ever seen and will ever see. And it’s not her clothes and wig and the lines she has to say (those are theatre magic, available to everybody) – it’s the way she summons her “spirit guide” with all encompassing arms and winks and come hither looks while dancing through the room that is hysterical. And the way her eyes get all huge when she’s surprised by something. and the way she is unabashedly, deliriously happy when she realises that she has indeed brought Elvira, her host’s deceased first wife, back from the dead. Or has she?
Introducing Charles Edwards (Downton Abbey), who plays author Charles Condomine who suffers from writer’s block and who is less than thrilled when Elvira makes her big entrance – only to try and kill him so that they can be together in the afterlife. Too bad she only succeeds to kill his second wife. Edwards is the perfect English gentleman – even in the throes of madness and it is hilarious to watch him become unravelled by his visions of Elvira.
It’s a great play (it IS Noel Coward after all), it’s a great cast and Ms Lansbury is incredible as the gin guzzling cooky medium – she seems to have at least as much fun as her audience who of course gives her standing ovations after every show, and deservedly so. I wish I could see it again and soon!