Venue: The Scented Garden, St Ann’s Well Gardens, Hove
Reviewer: Jan Melrose
Publication: The Argus
For the past 12 hours I have been keeping a watchful eye out for ghosts.
Despite being a staunch disbeliever in all things supernatural, so convincing is Sarah Mann’s performance as the deranged Madame Arcati I feel sure she must have conjured up something much more than just the merriment and mirth which resounded from St Ann’s Well Gardens.
But so far I have been witness to no supernatural spectres or poltergeists, save for the unusual sight of Mann balancing precariously on her hands, lifting her bent legs gingerly into the air behind her in some kind of fanatical yoga position.
Although a touch on the spooky side, Blithe Spirit is a delight to watch. Every playful line and witticism trips off the actors’ tongues with ease.
Wispy Stephanie Prince is every inch the mischievous temptress Elvira, who has returned from the dead to reclaim her husband Charles Condomine from second wife Ruth.
Prince performs her ethereal role with grace and charm and the rather daring neckline of her slinky cream satin dress is likely to set a few pulses racing.
Madeleine Harrington, as Ruth, is also impressive and brings a touch of the frosty Sybil Fawlty to the role.
Bringing it all together though is Mann who revels in her part with gusto.
Reserved English titters soon give way to unabandoned side-splitting laughter as Mann unleashes the full hilarity of Coward’s lines on the audience.
Her physicality really brings her performance alive as she madly hula dances across the grass, twists and contorts her body while in trances and drops to her knees to impersonate a beetle, complete with pincers.
Writing a light comedy about death during the Second World War is a brave act, and performing it a challenge for any company, but Incisor has found just the right balance and looks likely to be a permanent fixture in the gardens every summer