Marquette Wire

Helfaer’s happy medium

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Photo courtesy of Emily Dever, Center for Teaching and Learning

A deceased wife, a high maintenance living wife, a wacky medium and a novelist with an agenda go to a dinner party. All are left in the hysterical wake of spiraling disaster.

Blithe Spirit ended its run at Helfaer Theater after two weeks of shows. The British comedy, while a little on the long side, was an overall hit with audiences. The show combined the supernatural with reality in a humorous and dramatic turn of events.

The main couple, Charles and Ruth Condomine, provided tension while Charles’ late wife Elvira and Madame Arcati, the local medium, gave the audience comic relief throughout the performance.

Michael Young and Lily O’Leary, who played Charles and Ruth, respectively, had amazing chemistry on stage. With every twist and turn in the circumstances of their on-stage relationship, Young and O’Leary adjusted their demeanors and played off each other incredibly well.

At the beginning of the show, the two came off as a dynamic duo with ulterior motives; so in-sync that they barely had to speak a word about their actual plans. It left the audience slightly confused at first, but as the storyline moved forward, each scene made more sense.

Tensions rose when Charles’ ex-wife Elvira, played by Annie Kefalas, a sophomore in the College of Communication, came back from the dead as a ghost during the dinner party-turned-seance.

Only Charles could see and hear Elvira. The shared intuition between Charles and Ruth dissolved a little bit more through each scene. What started as a smitten couple turned into constant screaming matches and miscommunications. Although the relationship between the characters ultimately took a turn for the worst, Young and O’Leary executed every side of their characters flawlessly.

The comic relief of the show, Madame Arcati, was by far the strongest character. Nadja Simmonds, a junior in the College of Communication, who played the quirky medium, brought powerful energy and enthusiasm to her role that made it seem like this was not her first experience being a medium.

While there were several key moments that reflected the humorous nature of the play, it was Simmond’s fleeting additions of light-hearted humor that made the show so great. Arcati’s inclination for cucumber sandwiches was a recurring theme. Each time she found herself in the midst of a tense situation in the Condomines’ parlor, she would linger a moment too long, eyeing the constantly present plate of cucumber sandwiches and hoping that Ruth would invite her to indulge in the treats. A small and seemingly insignificant feature of such a strong character is what kept the audience laughing even in the middle of what seemed to be a stressful and spiraling disaster.

With such a small cast and short time to prepare the show, each of the actors did an exceptional job getting into their roles and bringing their characters to life. Without the help of the crew, however, the show would not have been the success that it was.

The set made the audience feel like they were in the parlor of the Condomine’s home instead of watching from afar. From the pattern of the wallpaper to the way the special effects created a supernatural feel, the show transported the audience to the 1940s and placed them directly into the lives of the Condomines.

The cliffhangers throughout the show created a well-executed tension and left audience members on the edge of their seats in amusement and anticipation of what would come next. Positive reactions rang throughout the theater when Elvira tried to sneak away after being caught trying to kill her ex-husband in order to bring him to the “other side” with her.

The sass and over-exaggeration made for a show that was hilarious and left me wanting to see more.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Helfaer’s happy medium

    Arts & Entertainment

    PURE to hold color-themed dance showcase Sunday

  • Helfaer’s happy medium

    Arts & Entertainment

    Novel Writing Month sparks excitement

  • Helfaer’s happy medium

    Arts & Entertainment

    Christkindlmarket Comes to Fiserv Forum for first time

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Marquette Lately | November 8, 2018

  • Helfaer’s happy medium

    Arts & Entertainment

    Starbucks holiday beverages return, excite students

  • Helfaer’s happy medium

    Arts & Entertainment

    Milwaukee’s concert venues provide unique atmosphere

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Apple releases new products, students react

  • Helfaer’s happy medium

    Arts & Entertainment

    Film festival prompts environmental dialogue

  • Helfaer’s happy medium

    Arts & Entertainment

    Naturals to host fall concert this weekend

  • Helfaer’s happy medium

    Arts & Entertainment

    Professors say 5.0 ratings hold little importance