Sunday, June 7, 2015

Fallen Angels: ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG

Maybe you say to yourself, "Another Noel Coward show? More English aristocrats flopping around on sofas?" No, no, no, no, no. The new TheatreWorks production of "Fallen Angels," written when Coward was only 24 years old (in 1923), is a riot from start to finish, with superb performances, requisite Coward cleverness and an entire act where Jane (Rebecca Dines, in blue) and Julia (Sarah Overman, in red) get gloriously plastered.

Jane's husband Willy (Cassidy Brown) and Julia's husband Fred (Mark Anderson Phillips) have no idea what is going on. To them, it's still yesterday, when men have their golf and women drink their tea. Little do they know the passion their wives still hold in their hearts for the ex-boyfriend of both women, Maurice (Aldo Billingslea). And Maurice just happens to be in town.

The beauty of Fallen Angels is the understanding the two women have of the difficult situation they are in. Above all, they are best friends, and wish to remain always so; on the other hand, they realize they will claw each other to bits for Maurice's affections. Or so they say. The long second act, distilled from the original and even longer second and third acts, flies by at the speed of champagne as the women wait for Maurice to show up. He does not, so they get drunker and drunker, helped along by Julia's extraordinary new maid Saunders (Tory Ross). Saunders serves tea, plays piano, concocts hangover cures and is the source of much un-asked-for advice.

Dines and Overman could not be more perfect. You will not want to miss this show if only to see the two of them worry about whether a tree might have killed Fred and Willy. For that would be horrible, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it?


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division can do bloody nothing else but award "Fallen Angels" Four Stars with a BANGLE OF PRAISE. Acting, Direction by Robert Kelley, Costumes by Fumiko Bielefeldt and the lavishly lovely set by J.B. Wilson all earn one star each. And let us add a BANGLE OF PRAISE for Noel Coward's "Lovely Song," which will ear-worm itself into your brain and not let go. You have been warned.

 "Fallen Angels"
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts
500 Castro Street, Mountain View
Through June 28

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