REVIEW: Laugh away the struggle of the times with a show that will mystify

Vernal Theatre Live presents Blithe Spirit, a comedy that combines hauntings and hilarity. The show opens Friday February 19th at 7:00 p.m. and will run Saturday the 20th, Monday the 22nd, Thursday the 25th, Friday the 26th and Saturday the 27th. 

The story follows Charles Condomine (David Gale), a frustrated writer, and his wife Mrs. Condomine (Karren Laub), as they hold a dinner party with two of their friends, Mr. Bradman (Joseph Harrison) and Mrs. Bradman (Juli Miller). But low and behold, this is not your ordinary dinner party. Charles Bradman needs inspiration for his latest book and has invited Madam Arcarti (Karren Hatch), the rather eccentric local medium, to perform a seance. But when they accidentally bring back Charles’s dead wife Elvira (McKenzie Johnstun), that’s when things take a turn toward the delightfully chaotic. 

Director Jen Curtis has done an incredible job during this time of health risk and pulled together a great show. These seven actors fill the stage with energy and spunk and fun. They each give such a unique and diverse approach to their characters. McKenzie Johnstun, as Elvira, truly embodies a spirit as she moves gracefully about the stage. Karren Hatch as Madam Arcarti will leave you giggling at her characters’ quirks and qualms and smiling at her positive outlook on life. This is her first show at VTL, and we are glad she could share her talents with our community. “Do your best! Chin Up! Never give in!” Karren says, in Madam Arcarti’s way of thinking.

David Gale as Charles Condomine has animated movement and engaging dialog. With every twist and turn of the story, his character reveals itself more and more to the audience. David will have you belly chuckling as he deals with the unpredictable mishap of that first evening. 

Karren Laub as Ruth Condomine caught my attention every time she came out on stage. With all her character weaknesses and strengths, Karren has made Ruth a role that will resonate with so many. “This took some stretch for me, but I really enjoyed it...I had to work hard to find her… I liked the work," Karren says as she relates her challenge of playing a more serious, ladylike role than she has played before. Joseph Harrison and Juli Miller as Dr. Bradman and Mrs. Bradman, do a fantastic job adding more hilarity to the scenes. This married couple fit into the idiom that opposites attract. They could not be more different from each other, and it is truly comical to see how they make their relationship work. Now, how would the new maid, who is just trying to make a good impression on her employers, react to a sudden change in the house's ‘atmosphere’? Alicia Smith as Edith will answer that question for you. 

Blithe Spirit’s set was made possible by volunteer collaboration. “To put on a show takes the whole team working toward the same goal,” says McKenzie Johnstun(Elvira). The finished product has an alluring effect which makes the audience feel they are part of the room, immersed into the story with these incredible characters. Other effects such as sound and lighting really add a spooky and sometimes bone chilling sensation as the show develops. It is astounding to see the changes done to this theater, from their very first show of the first season to the now the fifth show of the fifth season. “The biggest thing that I’ll take away from this experience is ... the enjoyment… the growth that this theater has gone through. For this little theater to have that kind of draw means that it really means something to this community… It is growing in a way that people see the value of it… I love that I get to be a part of that,” says David Gale(Charles Condomine).

Experience a night at VTL with its production of Blithe Spirit. A truly thrilling show. Full of unexpected twists and turns, Blithe Spirit unfolds itself in a whirlwind of witty banter and wisecrackery. “I hope the audience is able to come and escape… our current world situation. Come and laugh and get engrossed in a story that’s got some mystery… and humor... Just come and escape… and laugh for a minute... enjoy yourselves in a different place... a different world,” says Director Jen Curtis. This show will not disappoint, but will leave the audience thoroughly entertained. 

Tickets are available at vernaltheatre.com/tickets. Socially distanced seating is available by request- just email vernaltheatre@gmail.com. 

Photo Credit to Joie Madison Films and Photos. Visit the Vernal Theatre: LIVE Facebook page to watch the promotional videos from Joie Madison that show what Blithe Spirit and those involved are all about.

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