Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ballymore Eustace Drama Society tackled Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” ( and won!) It is quite a difficult play, very technical in the aspects that are needed to carry it off.
Ruth Condomime ( Sandra Butler) is the second wife of Charles (Robert Farrelly), an author, of sorts, living in Kent. The man of the house is interested in experiencing the “other side” and has arranged for Madame Arcati ( Geraldine O’ Rourke) to conduct a séance. Unwitting participants in the evening are Dr. Bradman ( Jimmy Pearse) and his wife (Grania Glancy).
Things don’t go according to plan however, and the presence of Charles first wife Elvira (Valery Howell) is brought back to life. The whole exercise is not helped by a frantic maid, Edith ( Jenny Sheridan).
The unfortunate thing is that only charles can see his (not so) dearly departed which gives some great comic moments during Acts 1 & 2. not so angelic Elvira is following her own agenda which begins to unravel during the course of the next week or so.
Robert is the Brian O’Driscoll of BEDS, rock solid and always guaranteeing a good performance. Himself and Sandra have the weightiest parts of the play and the interaction between them is good, typical of a couple who have been married too long and with the spectre of a first wife, who exited before her time, looming large. Sandra grew into the part on the night, her character getting wilder during the last two acts. Jenny had a lovely little cameo, think of Mrs. Doyle on speed and she milked it for all it was worth. Jimmy & Grania had to be skeptical and serious at the same time and they carried it off well. Jimmy in particular is proving very versatile, and has become a mainstay in most productions. Valery owned the stage, by far the most at ease and the part suited her demeanour and accent to a tee. And the play was a tour de force for Geraldine, in her role as the slightly scatty psychic, she had a laugh in every line. Excellent.
As I said the play was very technical, the lighting by Jim McDonald and the sound and special effects by Dave Butler were superb. The ending was a lovely, over the top, technical blast. Well done to director Bernadette Kearns for having the gumption to tackle such a demanding undertaking. It was great entertainment and continues BEDS commitment to performing different styles of plays whilst improving the standard of acting and production.
Any number of the cast would be deserving of the oscar, indeed there could be an argument for sharing the honours, but, you know me, I hate prevarication so the oscar goes to……………………..Geraldine O’Rourke.
If you are out walking in the Tipperkevin area and you meet a lady traveling at speed on her bicycle, eating cucumber sandwiches and talking to herself, it could be Madame Arcati communing with nature and the dark side. Or it could be Geraldine………………….


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