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Angela Lansbury leaves critics captivated as dotty mystic in stage return

Angela Lansbury has 'astonishing energy and comic panache' in the production, according to The Daily Telegraph's Charles Spencer.

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British actress Angela Lansbury poses on stage at the Gielgud Theatre in central London in Jan.

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Angela Lansbury has British critics spellbound with her performance as a dotty mystic in "Blithe Spirit" on the London stage.

The 88-year-old actress is appearing in the West End for the first time in almost 40 years as medium Madame Arcati in Noel Coward's supernatural farce. She won a Tony for the role on Broadway in 2009.

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The Daily Telegraph's Charles Spencer praised Lansbury's "astonishing energy and comic panache" in the production, directed by 85-year-old Michael Blakemore. In Wednesday's Times of London, Dominic Maxwell said Lansbury's "amazing precision and vim" were "a master-class in character comedy."

London-born Lansbury is known worldwide as small-town sleuth Jessica Fletcher on long-running TV series "Murder, She Wrote."

She said after Tuesday's opening night that "being back in London felt very natural and terrific."