Novelist Charles Condomine (Ryan Wood) has no idea what he is meddling with when he invites the eccentric clairvoyant Madame Arcati (Lisa Thorne) to his house to conduct a séance.

An unabashed sceptic, it is all part of his cynical plan to gather material for a new book.

But after Charles, second wife Ruth (Michelle Barns), and their dinner guests Dr Bradman (Glen Morris) and his wife Violet (Allison Stewart), sit down for their encounter with the spiritual world, his cunning plan backfires spectacularly.

Charles' deceased first wife Elvira (Cassandra Woodhouse) turns up from beyond the grave, intent on causing mischief and mayhem.

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When Madame Arcati, whose love of melodrama is rivalled only by her bumbling inability to accomplish her own objectives, attempts to send Elvira back whence she came, there is an even bigger shock in store for Charles.

Can Charles's nervous maid Edith (Stella Cooke) help?

British playwright Noel Coward's comic masterpiece Blithe Spirit is presented with style and panache in Detour's latest offering.

Amid a talented cast who have settled with ease into their roles, special mention must go to Thorne for the passion she brings to her deliciously challenging character of Madame Arcati, and Woodhouse, who injects Elvira with a lure that is seductive and possessive in equal measure.

Top marks too for Detour's make-up artists, who clearly can dress up a ghost with the best of them.

Director Kim Williamson has created a delightful production of a play that first hit the boards in the London of 1941 and went on for a record run of 1,997 performances.

Blithe Spirit lifted the mood of wartime Britain with its heart-warming comedy and it certainly has all the right ingredients to drive away Tauranga's winter blues.

The play runs until July 7.

Blithe Spirit
Detour Theatre
June 20 - July 7