Jennifer Saunders in Blithe Spirit

Jennifer Saunders is heading to Norwich to star in a classic Noel Coward comedy just before it starts a West End run.

She will revive the role of Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit which comes to the Norwich Theatre Royal on February 24-29.

The Absolutely Fabulous favourite and comedy actress won critical acclaim when she starred in the production at Theatre Royal Bath in the summer. And the production is now set to visit six UK venues early in 2020 ending in Norwich before transferring into the West End straight afterwards. Tickets go on public sale at 9.30am on Tuesday October 8.

Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “We are hugely excited to welcome this fantastic production to Norwich featuring Jennifer Saundes and give our audiences the chance to see it just before it moves into London.

“It is fantastic to have another production in Norwich from a fellow regional theatre, Theatre Royal Bath, as we continue to work with producers nationally and internationally to bring fantastic theatrical experiences to the region across our stages.”

Blithe Spirit tells the story of novelist Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth who find their lives change after a séance.

Jennifer Saunders plays the eccentric medium Madame Arcati who conjures up the ghost of Charles’s first wife. When she appears and is visible only to Charles, she sets out to sabotage his current marriage and things begin to get complicated.

It is the latest theatre role for Jennifer who also appeared in Lady Windermere’s Fan in the West End. Well-known for being one half of French and Saunders and for playing potty PR person Edina in Absolutely Fabulous, she has won numerous awards including two Emmys, five Baftas and four British Comedy Awards.

She won critical acclaim for her performance during the Bath run with the Guardian saying she “draws laughter with physical comedy” and The Stage saying Jennifer is “tailor-made for the role.”

Joining Jennifer on stage will be many of the original cast members from the Bath run including Geoffrey Streatfeild (Spooks, The Hollow Crown, the Kinky Boots film, and The Histories Cycle for the Royal Shakespeare Company), Lisa Dillon (Mary Smith in Cranford, and stage productions in the West End and for the Royal Shakespeare Company), Emma Naomi (Channel 4’s Chimerica, Dead Don’t Floss for the National Theatre, and The Cherry Orchard for Bristol Old Vic and Manchester Royal Exchange), and Lucy Robinson (Cold Feet, Coronation Street, Call The Midwife, Doc Martin).

Written in 1941, Noel Coward’s inventive, witty and meticulously engineered comedy provided a distraction from life during World War Two when it was first staged. The show enjoyed a record-breaking run in the West End and on Broadway, and remains one of the playwright’s most popular works.

Blithe Spirit is at the Norwich Theatre Royal from Monday 24-Saturday 29 February at 7.30pm and Wed and Sat matinees at 2.30pm. Captioned performances on Wednesday 26 Feb at 2.30pm. Audio-described and signed performance on Saturday 29 Feb at 2.30pm.

Tickets £10-£39.50. Discounts for Friends, Over-60s and Under-18s. Tickets go on sale on: Tuesday Oct 1 at 9.30am – Friends of the Theatre / Tuesday Oct 8 at 9.30am – General Public.

To book, log onto www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call 01603 630000.