Stage Door News

Niagara-on-the-Lake: Bernard Shaw’s “The Apple Cart” and Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” begin previews

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

The Shaw Festival’s 2023 season continues with Bernard Shaw’s The Apple Cart and Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit. Each begin previews on June 13 and June 14, respectively.

Written ten years after World War I, The Apple Cart is a perceptive examination of what could happen when private enterprise purchases control of the government. Set in an imagined 1967 Britain, the deceptively mild-mannered King Magnus (Tom Rooney) matches wits with Prime Minister Proteus (Graeme Somerville) and his capitalist-minded cabinet, who seek to strip the monarchy of all political influence.

This production also features the talents of Neil Barclay, Kristopher Bowman, Rais Clarke-Mendes*, Sharry Flett, Sochi Fried, Martin Happer, Richard Lam, André Morin, Rebecca Northan, Travis Seetoo, Kelly Wong, Bahareh Yaraghi, with Baillie Cohort understudies Sanskruti Marathe** and Francis Masaba**.

Directed by former Associate Artistic Director Eda Holmes, The Shaw’s production of The Apple Cart has set and costume design by Judith Bowden, lighting design by Sophie Tang, original music and sound design by Ryan deSouza and fight direction by John Stead. The production team includes Allan Teichman, stage manager, Becca Jorgensen, assistant stage manager and Laura Lakatosh, apprentice stage manager.

On stage at the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre (10 Queens Parade) from June 13 to October 7, The Apple Cart is recommended for audience members 14+/Grade 9+. Running time is approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes including one intermission. This production is sponsored by James & Diane King. The Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre is sponsored by Paradigm Capital Inc. *RBC Emerging Artists are sponsored by the RBC Foundation and RBC Emerging Artists. **The Baillie Cohort is supported by the Baillie Family Fund for Education.

Over at the Festival Theatre, Mike Payette makes his Shaw Festival directorial debut with Noël Coward’s deadly funny classic, Blithe Spirit. To drum up material for his new book on the occult, novelist Charles (Damien Atkins) invites eccentric clairvoyant Madame Arcati (Deborah Hay) to his home to conduct a séance. Things don’t go according to plan and Charles, who is now married to Ruth (Donna Soares [陸明慧]), finds himself quite literally haunted by the ghost of his late wife Elvira (Julia Course).

David Adams, Katherine Gauthier and Jenny L. Wright round out this uproarious comedy’s cast where emotions ignite and vases take flight.

The Shaw's production of Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit has set and costume design by James Lavoie, lighting design by Kevin Lamotte and original music and sound design by Troy Slocum. The production team includes Martine Beland, stage manager and Ashley Ireland, assistant stage manager.

On stage at the Festival Theatre (10 Queens Parade) from June 14 to October 8, Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit is recommended for audience members age 11+/Grade 6+. Running time is approximately 3 hours including one intermission. This production is sponsored by the William & Nona Macdonald Heaslip Foundation and Hummel Properties Inc.

Generously sponsored by The Slaight Family Foundation, the Shaw Festival’s 2023 season runs through to December 23, with a playbill featuring Mahabharata, Gypsy, Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit, The Amen Corner, Prince Caspian, On the Razzle, Village Wooing, The Shadow of a Doubt, The Playboy of the Western World, The Apple Cart, The Clearing, A Christmas Carol and Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon. This season’s Outdoors @ The Shaw includes Mother, Daughter, The Game of Love and Chance, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s A Grand Night for Singing – One Act – in Concert, Coffee Concerts, Speakeasies, A Short History of Niagara, What’s in Your Songbook? and Gospel Choir.

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Photo: Donna Soares, Damien Atkins and  Julia Course. © 2023 Shaw Festival.