At times during the Lyric Stage Company’s season-ending production of “Blithe Spirit,” Noel Coward’s trademark wit falls a little flat.

 

The crisp repartee of Coward’s vapid upper-crust English society should send sparks that ignite uproarious laughter throughout the audience. The rapier ranting of these bloated bores should cut like a knife, but it doesn’t, unless Kathy St. George is on stage.

 

Having seen Angela Lansbury’s Tony-winning turn as the ditsy medium Madame Arcati in last season’s Broadway production, it was hard to imagine how St. George could make this role her own in the shadow of such a giant. But the diminutive local fave not only creates her own dizzying psychic, but she single-handedly infuses this production with enough energy and humor to make it work.

 

As the ghost of jealous ex-wife Elvira, veteran actress Paula Plum, (sporting a distractingly ill-fitting blonde wig), is never better than when she’s taunting Arcati with flying objects. Plum’s timing is great and her annoyance with the bumbling medium as she slips into a trance is what makes this story funny.


But Plum and the remainder of the talented ensemble never quite get up to speed without St. George. Richard Snee fails to capture the polished essence of Charles and Arthur Waldstein’s Dr. Bradman is forgettable. Sarah deLima fares better as the genteel Mrs. Bradman, but even that wouldn’t be enough without the first rate performance of St. George.



‘Blithe Spirit’

Through Sunday

Lyric Stage Company

140 Clarendon St., Boston

$25-$50, 617-585-5678

www.lyricstage.com