Over the July 4th holiday weekend, I had the extreme pleasure of watching Angela Lansbury perform on Broadway in the Noel Coward classic “Blithe Spirit.” And even better, I had tickets in front row center. How I was lucky enough to get these prime seats, I don’t know, as I only called up the night before to make reservations. But it was well worth the trip into the city, as the play itself is a classic bit of comic genius, and the rest of the cast (including Rupert Everett, Christine Ebersole and Jayne Atkinson) were equally superb.
In the play, Ms. Lansbury plays a somewhat questionable medium, who somehow manages to conjure up the dead wife (Ms. Ebersole) of Mr. Everett, much to the chagrin of his current wife (Ms. Atkinson). I’m sure you can imagine what ensues from there, complete with clever, witty dialogue provided by Mr. Coward. All in all, it was a great day at the theater, and a nice reminder of what a great actress Ms. Lansbury still remains, even in her eighties. (I’d actually seen her a couple years ago on Broadway, when she was in the tennis comedy “Deuce”…but that was not a great play, and she seemed to struggle with her lines in that one.) But with Noel Coward’s hilarious storyline as a backdrop, Ms. Lansbury shined brighter than ever.
The only thing I found a little odd is that Ms. Lansbury appeared to be wearing the exact same wig she’d worn as Mrs. Lovett in the original Broadway production of “Sweeney Todd.” Even had the same accent. Not sure if there was an intentional reference or whether it was pure coincidence, but the similarities were rather obvious. Other than that, the entire show was “like butter.”
The play closes later this month, so if you’ve been thinking of going to see it, you’d better hurry. Ms. Lansbury waits for no one.