Blithe Spirit - performed October 2004

By Noel Coward

Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French

Director - Kerry King

Kerry is a trustee of the Manifest Theatre and feels that Manningtree is very privileged to have such a unique theatre. She is passionately involved in all aspects of theatre, but enjoys the creative directorial role most of all. She obtained a Master's Degree in Contemporary Theatre and was an adjudicator for the North East Essex Theatre Guild for two years. Over the past four years she has won several awards including Best Production (three times) and Best Musical (twice). She has enjoyed returning to the Manifest very much to direct Blithe Spirit.


(in order of appearance)

Edith (a maid) Sandra Dillon
Ruth Condomine Gloria Streames
Charles Condomine Nigel Lister
Doctor Bradman Nigel Morton
Mr Bradman Stacie Withers
Madame Arcati Val Taylor
Elvira Alison Baker

Production Team

Kerry King, Roger Licence, Jo Cobbold, Bruce Emeny, Maurice Barber, Derek Butcher, Martin Rayner, Ray Streames, Gloria Streames, Kathy James, Val Taylor, Yvonne Cobbold, Steve Sadler, Mike Johansen, Gordon Prior, Lester Pearse, Patience Ling, Viv wheatley.

Awards & Nominations

Nominations for Blithe Spirit by the North East Essex Theatre Guild Awards are:

  • Best Actress - Val Taylor
  • Best Actor - Nigel Lister
  • Best Set Design
  • Best Costumes

The Play

Blithe Spirit, an improbable farce according to its writer Noel Coward, was written in six days whilst he was on holiday. However, this play is much more than a comedy as it exposes the characters' fears and desires, and how things are not always what they appear. One of Coward's best known works, it was made into an Academy Award winning film in 1945 starring Rex Harrison and Margaret Rutherford.

Set in the early forties, Blithe Spirit leads us into the life of Charles Condomine, an author in search of new material for his book about a homicidal medium. In order to obtain suitable material he invites Madame Arcati, a local medium to conduct a seance in his home. The evening turns out to be rather too successful as Charles' becomes haunted by passions from the past with irreversible consequences.


Plenty of spirit in timely play

WITH Hallowe’en coming up, the Manifest Theatre Group could not have chosen a more apt Play.
Blithe Spirit, which its writer, Noel Coward, described as an improbable farce contains enough ghostly happenings to leave even the most sceptical person looking over their shoulder.

The star was undoubtedly Val Taylor as the somewhat eccentric medium. Each time she appears on stage, a ripple of expectancy runs round the audience. Val outshone the other six members of the cast, although all of them were excellent, in particular Gloria Steams, Nigel Lister and Alison Baker.

Cleverly directed by Kerry King, the play takes a glimpse into the life of an author searching for new material for a book about a homicidal medium. He arranges fo a sťance at his home which turns out to be rather too successful.

The Manifest Group playing to packed audiences, again lived up to the standards it has set itself and the only let-down was perhaps the rather disappointing ending.
Lesley Pallet

Photo Shoot

Val, Nigel, Gloria, Alison

(click on an image below to view a larger photo - arrow keys navigate through the set)