Noël Coward’s classic comedy Blithe Spirit, directed by Richard Eyre and starring Jennifer Saunders, will return next year for a UK tour followed by a strictly limited six-week engagement at the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre following a celebrated reception at the Theatre Royal Bath earlier this summer.
The new tour opens at Theatre Royal Brighton where it runs from 22-25 January and will then visit Malvern Theatre from 27 January-1 February, Theatre Royal Bath from 4-8 February, Cambridge Arts Theatre from 10-15 February, Richmond Theatre from 17-22 February and Norwich Theatre Royal from 24-29 February before arriving in the West End at the Duke of York’s Theatre from 5 March to 11 April 2020, with opening night for press on 10 March.
Jennifer Saunders, one of the UK’s most popular comic actors, will revive her role as the preposterous clairvoyant Madame Arcati. She is joined by original cast members Geoffrey Streatfeild who will star as Charles, Lisa Dillon as Ruth Condomine, Emma Naomi as Elvira, Simon Coates as Dr Bradman, Lucy Robinson as Mrs Bradman, and Rose Wardlaw as Edith. The production brings together a distinguished and multi-award-winning creative team, directed by former National Theatre director Eyre, with design by Anthony Ward, lighting by Howard Harrison, sound by John Leonard and illusions by Paul Kieve.
This new production opened in June as part of artistic director Jonathan Church’s second summer season at Theatre Royal Bath where it played to sell out houses and was widely praised by critics and public alike. It is the third play from Jonathan Church’s summer season programmes to transfer to the West End following last year’s 50th anniversary production of Arthur Miller’s The Price at Wyndham’s Theatre and Switzerland at the Ambassadors.
Blithe Spirit is presented by Theatre Royal Bath Productions, Lee Dean and Jonathan Church Productions.
Jennifer Saunders is well known as one half of the comedy duo French and Saunders, for which she and Dawn French received a BAFTA fellowship in 2009, and for the hit comedy series and subsequent film, Absolutely Fabulous, which she also wrote and starred in. She has received numerous awards including two Emmys, five BAFTAs and four British Comedy Awards. Other recent credits include Lady Windermere’s Fan (West End) and the BBC series Jam and Jerusalem.
Geoffrey Streatfeild has appeared on TV in Spooks, The Hollow Crown, The Thick of It and The Other Boleyn Girl, and on film in Making Noise Quietly, The Lady in the Van, Kinky Boots and A Royal Night Out. Stage credits include the Histories Cycle (RSC), Cell Mates (Hampstead), The Beaux Stratagem (National Theatre) and My Night with Reg (Donmar).
Lisa Dillon starred as Mary Smith in the BBC series Cranford. Her stage credits include Richard Eyre’s Private Lives in the West End, the RSC’s The Roaring Girl and The Taming of the Shrew, A Flea in Her Ear and Design for Living at the Old Vic and The Knot of the Heart and When the Rain Stops Falling at the Almeida.
Emma Naomi starred recently in Pinter at the Pinter (Jamie Lloyd Productions/ATG), Bread and Roses (Oldham Coliseum), The Cherry Orchard (Bristol Old Vic, Manchester Royal Exchange), Dead Don’t Floss (National Theatre), Don Juan in Soho (Wyndham’s Theatre) and, for television, Channel 4’s Chimerica.
Simon Coates’ stage credits include Richard III (Almeida), 1984 (West End), The Cherry Orchard (Royal Exchange, Bristol Old Vic), King John (Shakespeare’s Globe). He has also toured the UK with Regeneration, The Misanthrope, Romeo & Juliet and The Hypochondriac.
Lucy Robinson’s stage credits include Waste, The Hard Problem (National Theatre), Handbagged (Vaudeville), Sweet Bird of Youth (Old Vic), In the Next Room (Theatre Royal Bath). Her many TV credits include Cold Feet, Coronation Street, Call the Midwife, Doc Martin, Doctor and Pride and Prejudice.
Rose Wardlaw recently performed in Outlying Islands at the King’s Head. She has previously appeared in Eyam, The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare’s Globe), Jubilee (Lyric Hammersmith) and Great Expectations (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and, for television, Call the Midwife and Doctors.