I want to be Angela Lansbury when I grow up. At 89-years-old, the actress/singer/teapot sparkles and literally dances (hilarious—think Elaine on Seinfeld) her way through Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Ahmanson Theatre. Lansbury is in top form in her Tony-Award winning role (her fifth, in fact) as kooky medium Madame Arcati, whose séance brings back the first wife of author Charles Condomine (much to the chagrin of his current wife). The rest of the cast also shines—especially Charles Edwards (Downton Abbey), who plays Condomine, reprising his role from the West End production of the show. Last night’s opening night audience was filled with familiar faces like Bryan Cranston, Jane Seymour, Tracie Bennett, Eric McCormack, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
All of the actors are noteworthy in their roles, but it’s Lansbury who the crowd came to see and she simply steals the show. The play is smart, jubilant, and as crisp as the cucumber sandwiches Lansbury/Madame Arcati can’t get enough of onstage. Lansbury is a marvel—about to do eight shows a week until January 18th. After getting everyone up out of their seats on opening night, she joined the cast and well-wishers at nearby Spear Steak and Seafood House which had all its fireplaces blazing. Lansbury held her phone out for perfect selfies and popped up every few seconds from her meal to take pictures with party-goers. Take a break from the hectic holidays and see Blithe Spirit.