Blithe Spirit | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Blithe Spirit 

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The afterlife intrudes, brilliantly, in Noel Coward's playful ectoplasmic comedy, in which the deceased wife of a henpecked writer returns via a botched seance. Saucy ghost Elvira means to wreck her former hubbie's current marriage--or, failing that, remove him to the hereafter. It won't work: even the second chances provided by second comings aren't guaranteed. Despite an ending more bitter than sweet, this stylish play is too blithe for revenge, though there are recriminations. John Gawlik's surefire staging is well paced and well cast. Brendan Averett as the husband can simultaneously play smug and threatened, Hillary Clemens and Mackenzie Kyle are ingeniously irritating as his wives, and Elizabeth Hipwell as Madame Arcati is a rare medium. --Lawrence Bommer a Through 3/11: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Gift Theatre Company, 4802 N. Milwaukee, 773-283-7071, $15-$25.

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