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A classic Noel Coward comedy is being performed in Oamaru this month.

Blithe Spirit is on stage at the Oamaru Repertory Society’s Itchen St Theatre from November 14.

It was originally scheduled to open on November 8, but that performance and one the following night had been cancelled, director Judith Bingham said.

Coward wrote Blithe Spirit in 1939, setting it in the 1940s.

It centres on socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites eccentric clairvoyant Madame Arcati to conduct a seance at his home.

Condomine’s plan to gain material for his next novel falls foul when he becomes haunted by the ghost of his first wife, Elvira.

She persists in trying to upset his current marriage to Ruth, who cannot see or hear Elvira’s ghost.

Blithe Spirit enjoyed a record run of 1997 performances in London’s West End after first appearing in 1941.

It also ran for 657 performances on Broadway, New York, from later that year.

Coward wrote a film script for the 1945 movie starring Rex Harrison, and directed a Broadway musical version, High Spirits, in 1964.

Blithe Spirit has been revived many times throughout the following decades, including in London in 2004, 2011 and 2014 and Broadway in 2009.

Coward told of how he wrote the play in six days, working from 8am to 1pm and 2pm to 7pm.

He is also quoted as knowing it was witty, well-constructed, and would be a success.

The Oamaru production, with the tag line “A comedy to die for”, is staying true to the 1940s setting.

Most of the costumes were original garments from that era, Bingham said.

Husband and wife actors David and Jude Blair are playing the lead roles of Charles Condomine and Elvira. Glenda Hagenson is Madame Arcati, Tracy Griffith is Ruth Condomine, Andrew King is Dr Bradman, Judith Bingham is Mrs Bradman, and Tilly Helm is Edith.

The performances are at 7.30pm on November 14, 15, 21, 22, and 23, and at 4pm on November 16 and 17.

Tickets are available at oamarurepertory.co.nz or at the Itchen St box office.