Monday, December 3, 2007

Review: Blithe Spirit

[Theater] Playwright Noel Coward created Blithe Spirit in six days, and presumably rested on the seventh. Pinnacle Acting Company recreated the play just shy of three hours, and audience members presumably drank heavily on the fourth hour. Or at least I did.

Considering it is a non-profit performing arts organization, Pinnacle Acting Company performed a decidedly professional rendition of Coward’s 1941 play. The stage was set with authentic period scenery, and the players were adorned in classic vintage style. Coward’s story began with the protagonist Charles Condomine (Justin Bruse) inviting the proclaimed medium Madame Arcati (Vickie Pugmire) over for dinner and a séance. Lights dim and chants are called, accidentally awaking the spirit of Charles’ deceased first wife (Melanie Nelson); while currently-alive second wife (Melanie Rees) sits by his side. Charles’ sisterwives begin to haunt and torment him for his attention and undying oath of love.

Witty and cleverly written, the dialogue was sharp and humorous. Two hours into the play, I was agreeably entertained yet stiff in my seat. I began to wonder how—but more importantly, if, or when—the romantic-comedy saga would end. And I found myself daydreaming of extra-dry martinis and cucumber sandwiches of which the players partook during the play.

However, the actors did fine work in the community theater setting. Sporting a cast full of expertise, the play was executed with a professionalism that you would find in any other theater setting. Only a year old, Pinnacle Acting Company is founded and supported by talented actors. I will be keeping an eye out for future, shorter, yet still pleasantly performed productions. (Kris Heitkamp)

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