Spirited play has them rolling in the aisles






Spirit Level Directed by Lindsey Bishop Reviewed by Jules Hamilton .. .. .. .. .. .. You know you’re in the midst of a really great show when the whole theatre audience is laughing as one at the hilarious antics they are witnessing up on that stage. Directed by Lindsey Bishop, Spirit Level is set in a cosy cottage in the English countryside complete with Persian carpets and heavy drapes; but it is the beautifully painted set that allows the audience a three-dimensional view through the French doors where we can almost smell the climbing roses as they amble across the low stone garden wall. The play opens with famous crime writer Jack Cameron and his wife Susie who, after drowning in a tragic boating accident, return to haunt the cottage where they once lived. Played with a sound hand by Little Theatre stalwarts Edward Carleton-Holmes and Madeleine Howard, their ghostly makeup was reminiscent of the silent-film era but their droll performances were anything but quiet. They were very funny; like a bickering couple from a 1970s English sitcom, they were so comfortable with each other and their comedic timing throughout the whole play and delivery of zingy one-liners was absolutely spot on. Into this idyllic countryside comes dithering local realtor Mark Webster played to the hilt by Chris Chambers, and his facial expressions set our audience into laughter as he cannot quite believe his eyes when he sees objects flying through the air (in the hands of our spirit Mr and Mrs). He is there to show newly pregnant couple Simon and Flic Willis, played beautifully by Brendon Leeuw and Ash McCormick, this spooky cottage in the hopes that they take it off his hands. This is somewhat thwarted by the arrival of Flic’s mother the Beast of Basingstoke, Marcia Bradshaw, played with fabulous abandon by Kylie Vanston. Helen Griffin appears in a puff of smoke and steals the show as Susie’s guardian angel: a crazy Mary Poppins Type A personality who had the audience in fits of laughter. Spirit Level on stage at Waipukurau Little Theatre from August 5-19. Tickets available at Betta Electrical Waipukurau, Eventfinda or www. littletheatre.net.nz