Oh those incorrigible upper crusters. Not content with a busy life of mixing Martinis and getting a Marcel wave, they have to hold a séance. And splatter my spats, the rather sensuous ghost of the first wife appears. Most inconvenient – and all in front of the servants.
Noel Coward’s wartime-written comedy has all the decadence of the thirties. It’s daft, frivolous escapism: no wonder it was a smash West End hit on its first run. Here it’s played straight, as it should be – we need to feel a little of husband Charles Condomine’s angst, after all. Madame Arcati conjures the spirits like a hockey teacher in a souk, and the assembled party of respectables navigate the hair raising incidents with growing alarm.
The plot’s creaky, the lines are good and occasionally great. But we’re not there for a taxing night out – this is entertainment, and there’s plenty of it. Lots of laughs, gorgeous costumes, and an extraordinary number of those Martinis – raise a glass each time the players do and you’ll leave smiling. And mind the stairs, you can’t be too careful.
Until 7 January at the SJT