Blithe Spirit: Funny play, terrible promotional image.

I have no desire to write an abridged version of this play, but what I do want to talk about today is what I consider to be a promotional failure.

In the giant shuffle of plays this season, I've avoided Blithe Spirit for months now. Basically because the entire time it's run, what I had in mind was the drawing attached they've been using:

What do you see when you look at this? This is what I had assumed based on the photo:

1. Angela Lansbury is in this play.
2. She probably looks just like that in the play, without, say, any crazy-old-lady eye makeup that helps makes her character even more hilarious.
3. Christine Ebersole is not a ghost or anything, because the her-hands-are-seethrough effect is so subtle that I hadn't noticed it..
4. This is a nicely-painted picture, which probably means this play is quaint and sweet.
5. This play probably feels old, and is probably not a dark comedy or anything.

It would turn out that I would only be right on the first count, and that's it. Aside from an often-too-relaxed performance by Rupert Everett, and an ending that's contrived, this is an enjoyable dark comedy. And although it's set in the time period it was written, there's is very, very little that keeps the play from being contemporary in nature. It's a play about a dead bimbo blonde who comes back from the dead and causes bitchy-style havoc because she's jealous that her husband has a new wife. It's a great premise--could you tell that from the picture?

I really enjoyed Blithe Spirit. The little lady--who usually insists on musicals--said it was possibly the most she'd enjoyed a Broadway play. And yeah, Lansbury is pretty fricking funny, but the point is that I was wrong in my assumptions that there's nothing to the play when she's offstage.

So, if you're looking for a dark comedy, go see Blithe Spirit.

And then, draw a big frowny-face on the Playbill.


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