Review: Fallen Angels Rises To The Clouds

Asolo Repertory Theatre's "Fallen Angels" is a laugh-out-loud comedy exploring the timeless tale of former romances.

So devilish are these Fallen Angels, it would be a sin not to see this comedy at .

The play follows two women — Julia Sterrall (Kate Hampton) and Jane Banbury (Hillary Clemens) discover a fling they were intimate with before they were married to their husbands is back in town. Ah yes, the Frenchman Maurice.

They devise a plan, get drunk and everything falls apart for the girls, but the play holds together well, especially during Friday's opener.

Fallen Angels has been around a while, but performances are hard to get licenses and approval of, and Asolo's lucky to have it. They had to gain a rare approval from the playwright Noel Coward's estate.

Who knew a 1920s play could be so naughty? Not dirty, obscene or other words that 1920s society described the play. But a good mix of euphemisms, innuendos and innocence.

You can see perhaps how some modern sitcom characters might have been inspired by the play, or maybe the actors and actresses might have been delivering it like some famous characters.

The otherworldly experiences  and talents of the house maid Saunders, played by Carolyn Michel, brings me back to watching Jeffrey from Fresh Prince of Bel Air stealing scenes with a deadpan delivery. What hasn't Saunders done? Cured natives in Africa, accomplished pianist and fluent in French to name a few.

Others have compared this to a 1920s Sex In The City, but I see it more of a Hot in Cleveland, especially with Kate Hampton's presence like British star Jane Leaves, except these ladies are still hitched. Hampton's Julia and Hilary Clemens' Jane Banbury sneaking around to ignite their flame from long ago and fall into a slapstick sequence of devising a plan and getting out of said plan that fails.

At times I wanted one of those whimsical ladies to say Picture it: London, 1920, as if they were channeling Sophia from The Golden Girls while Hampton also mixes in a little bit of the fiery Blanche Devereaux.

What makes this production hilarious is the age difference. Hampton and Clemens are about 20 years apart and they've had a fling with the same man, whose age also adds to the funny. Yet, it still makes sense, because you think "Oh, that's Europe and Frenchman are quite the charmers regardless of their seniority." 

Then you realize, "Oh, this is Florida. I can see this happening easily."

There's no slowing these ladies, and gentleman down. The cast and crew, led by director Peter Amster, make this play zip along as you anticipate as much as those fallen British angels, wanting for Maurice to appear.

Where are the husbands in all of this? Fred Sterrall (Jason Bradley) and Will Banbury  (Andrew Carter) go out for a round of golf and drinks and stumble back home to find their marriages have gone beyond the back nine.

Although a brief appearance, Maurice, played by David Breithbarth, delivers the satisfaction for the audience, as well as for the characters. 

Fallen Angels will sure be an affair to remember.

Fallen Angels runs through May 13 at Asolo Repertory Theatre. Tickets cost $31 to $69 and are available at asolorep.org.

Janet April 13, 2012 at 05:48 PM
This play was HORRIBLE. I am thinking that maybe Sarasota theater should start catering to a little younger crowd. I think the average age at the theater last night was 70. I don't have a problem with the seniors enjoying a night out, it's just that the theater really needs to start catering to a younger audience,


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