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'Fallen Angels' at Main Street Theater now extended through Aug. 10

Julia (Crystal O'Brien) and Jane (Lisa Villegas) in Fallen Angels (2014) Photo credit: www.RicOrnelProductions.com
Photo credit: www.RicOrnelProductions.com

Fallen Angels

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Last night, I experienced "Fallen Angels" at Main Street Theater, which has now been extended through August 10. This offbeat comedy offers a night of laughs and intrigue.

Playwright Noel Coward’s work remains relevant today due to the content and edgy, gripping material his plays covered. Director Claire Hart-Palumbo put together an amazing crew and cast to get the very best for audiences. Set design by Claire A. Jac Jones instantly put you in a cozy apartment setting and sets the ideal mood for the production.

"Fallen Angels" tells the story of Julia Sterroll (Crystal O’Brien) and Jane Banbury (Lisa Villegas) who are in passionless marriages and while their husbands are away receive exciting news of a past visiting lover. The husbands leave on a golfing trip and the women spin into a tizzy trying to decide the correct course of action to deal with past suitor.

Both of the wives seem equally suited for each other, they are headstrong and share the same emotionally driven personalities as all women. Julia has hired a new house cleaner whom she calls Saunders (Elizabeth Marshall Black). Black has the perfect stage presence and serves as the ideal buffer between both husband and wife and friend and friend. Her light, jovial performance is the centerpiece of the entire play and provides both comic and fun moments throughout the play.

As Julia and Jane await the arrival of their past lover, Maurice Duclos (Joel Sandel), they proceed to spend the evening getting drunk and dreaming of what could be. As both women are in seemingly loveless marriages, they equally are intrigued by the possibility of what his arrival could mean for their lives. Jane, who at first seems to most together and steadfast of the two wives, she quickly flounders as his arrival time approaches.

It seems conflicting as audiences listen to the two wives laugh and bicker on stage, questioning if they should or should not remain faithful to their husbands. O’Brien has a reserved nature and when she is on stage, she commands the attention. Villegas is a perfect complement to O’Brien with her lively, jovial personality. Villegas is infectious, specially playing the drunk, getting loud and offering key comedic elements. Both women equally reveal their true nature and deceptive ways.

Although the husbands do not get as much stage time, Fred Sterroll (Bobby Haworth) and Willy Banbury (Dain Geist) make the most of their time. Just as the wives, the husbands have a personality all their own. Fred seems to truly love his wife, just like Willy. Each actor makes the audience feel that the wives aren’t quite deserving of the husbands they have.
Audiences can’t help but find the humor in the entire crazy situation, just as Fred does, but in the end, logic and reality win out. When Maurice finally arrives, the next morning when both husbands have returned from their golfing trip, it creates quite the scene. The wives must come clean or tell the lie of their lives and as they scramble for the truth or the perfect lie, it wraps up the play perfectly.

“Fallen Angels” runs through August 10th at Main Street Theater’s Rice Village location. For ticket information, you can visit the box office at 2540 Times Blvd., by phone at 713-524-6706 or by visiting mainstreettheater.com. Be sure to check out what is coming up for the 2014-2015 season as well.