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Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit next at Ilkley Playhouse

A popular Noel Coward comedy opens Thursday at Ilkley Playhouse. Caroline Mutton looks ahead to the coming weeks at the playhouse.

Opening this Thursday 8th June in the Wharfeside Theatre is Noel Coward’s timeless comedy, Blithe Spirit. The play is a delightful blend of verbal wit, memorable characters and improbable situations and has charmed audiences over the past eighty years. Legend has it that Noel Coward wrote the play in seven days on a trip to North Wales. It opened in Manchester in 1941 and then at London’s Piccadilly Theatre, where it was an instant success, becoming one of the West-End’s longest-running shows. In Blithe Spirit, as research for his next novel, Charles Condomine engages a medium, Madame Arcati, to conduct a séance, but inadvertently, she raises the ghost of his late first wife, Elvira. For Ruth – Charles’ current wife – Elvira’s resurrection is no laughing matter, particularly since the neurotic spirit seems only too eager to reclaim her husband – whether it be in this world or the next. Perhaps Coward’s most mature, best-constructed work, Blithe Spirit is certainly one of his funniest. The play runs until Saturday 17th June. This play will also travel to The Minack Theatre in Cornwall from 23rd to 27th July.

Laurel Canyon Union return to Ilkley Playhouse on Friday 23rd June. Formed in the summer of 2015 by US Grammy Nominated ex Acoustic Alchemy drummer John Shepard, this union of fully professional, experienced musicians take their inspiration from the late 60s/early 70s American West Coast singer songwriter era, playing well know songs from artists such as Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Eagles, James Taylor and Buffalo Springfield. Rewind to the Counterculture Woodstock Generation and enjoy a great playlist of Cool California Country Rock.

On Saturday 24th June Stagefright Comedy Club will once again be entertaining Ilkley Playhouse audiences! The event will be frontlined by Jonny Pelham who has delighted audiences at Ilkley Playhouse before and is one of the most exciting stand-up comedians in the UK. He has appeared on Live at the Apollo, Mock The Week, Alan Davies As Yet Untitled, Russell Howard’s Stand-up Central, Live from the BBC and Bobby and Harriet Get Married. Beyond The Fringe Edinburgh Festival Award winner, double-nominated for Chortle Comedy Awards Best Show and Breakthrough Act 2020. He’s written and starred in his own scripted comedy projects; Late Bloomer, for Sky Comedy Short Season and Brad Boys for Channel Four Comedy Blaps, as well as working as a script consultant for BAFTA winning sitcom, Alma’s Not Normal. Joining him is Nick Doody - inspired invective from The World Stands Up, The Mark Thomas Comedy Product and The Now Show. Nick has been performing comedy since the 1990s when, as a student he got off to a pretty good start by supporting the legendary Bill Hicks, at Bill's request. Since then he has performed all over the world from Switzerland to Hong Kong. He has written material for Joan Rivers, Lenny Henry, the late Dame Edna Everage and many of the cast of Mock the Week. He was also the creator and head writer of Bigipedia, the critically acclaimed Radio 4 show. Also performing is Jane Postlethwaite, Audience Choice Award Nominee at Brighton Fringe and Funny Women Finalist. Comedian Tegan Marlow, who was nominated as Breakthrough Act in the 2022 Northwest Comedy Awards and was a semi- finalist in the 2021 Funny Women Awards will also be entertaining on that night. She has quickly taken the Northwest comedy circuit by storm, regularly performing alongside pro acts all over the North. Also taking to the stage will be Jack Kelly, described as having 'a natural stage presence and well-written gags which are perfectly timed' (Small & Shouty Comedy Club). The guest compere for the evening will be Jim Bayes. Endearing and likeable, Jim is a frustrated young man with the ability to make excellent and thoughtful observations as well as having an eye for the absurd. As part of Refugee Week 2023, Wharfedale Amnesty is delighted to be showing the film Aisha on Sunday 25th June. The film tells the story of a young Nigerian woman (Letitia Wright) seeking protection in Ireland. Caught in limbo for years in the immigration system, she forms a friendship with a security guard Conor (Josh O’Connor). Although fictional, the events portrayed are constructed from real-life and demonstrate the nightmare of bureaucracy. The two leading actors give brilliant performances. Tickets are £10 (£6 for students). Please note that all surplus funds will go to Amnesty International UK, There will be an information stall from Wharfedale Amnesty beforehand (doors open 7pm) and the bar will be open before and after the film, with the opportunity for a discussion about the film afterwards.

Our final production of the season is Abi Morgan's Lovesong, running from 6th to the 15th July in the Wharfeside Theatre. If you enjoyed ‘Here I Belong’ at llkley Playhouse last season, then this one’s for you. If you are in love or have been in love, then this one’s for you. Whatever your age, this one’s for you. This is a tender and unforgettable insight into a relationship. It is the story of one couple, told from two different points in their lives – as young lovers in their twenties and as worldly companions looking retrospectively on their relationship. Their past and present selves collide in this haunting and beautiful tale of togetherness. It is full of the joys of young love, the frustrations of love and the sadness of love. What remains is the power of love. Abi Morgan first started writing for television on shows such as ‘Peak Practice’ and the adaptation of Sebastian Faulk’s novel Birdsong. She has since written screenplays for films including The Iron Lady, Brick Lane and Suffragette.

To book tickets for all our plays and events visit or contact Ilkley Playhouse box office on 01943 609539.


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