EXCERPTS FROM THE REVIEW
The following are excerpts from the May 30, 2015 Baltimore Sun Review of Blithe Spirit by Tim Smith
With its verbal precision and clever structural cohesiveness, Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" has lost none of its comic voltage since it swept onto a London stage in 1941 and proceeded to outrun the war, chalking up nearly 2,000 performances.
Get swept along into the delicious swirl of seances and apparitions that shake up an English country house. It's easy to do in Everyman Theatre's stylish revival of "Blithe Spirit" that opened Friday night.
And I do mean stylish. This production places the action in the late 1920s, rather than the usual wartime Britain, and that means exquisite clothes for the actors from the company's resident costume designer David Burdick. Mortals and ghosts alike could not look more elegant. Resident set designer Daniel Ettinger likewise conjures up scenic appeal.
To keep all of this percolating onstage, it helps to have a genuine scene-stealer as Madame Arcati, and that's where Everyman is especially fortunate.
I didn't expect to encounter a second notable portrayal of the role so soon after savoring the one by brilliant, ageless Angela Lansbury, whose adorable Madame Arcati lit up Washington's National Theatre in March.
Robinette tackles the assignment with a subtle, winning charm. The actress doesn't go overboard, but doesn't miss much in the way of comic possibilities. The most striking achievement is the naturalness of her verbal and facial nuances, the way she inhabits the character without calling attention to the acting.
Her assured handling of little gestures (note how this medium detects dust on the mantelpiece), and the perfectly judged delivery that can turn such a bland expression as "Honesty is the best policy" into a laugh line, add immeasurably to Robinette's endearing performance.