By William Mills
Fallen Angels opened in Brighton’s Theatre Royal on Monday 3 March and runs until Saturday 8 March 2014.
Jenny Seagrove and Sara Crowe
A cast of six starring Jenny Seagrove (A Woman of Substance) and Sara Crowe (Four Weddings and a Funeral).
Jenny Seagrove clearly demonstrates she is at the height of the acting career with a brilliant performance and is supported superbly by Sara Crowe.
It is set in the London drawing room home of bored couple Julia and Fred Sterroll, (played by Ms Seagrove and Tim Wallers) who debate the virtues of marriage in its second decade.
Their live in ‘help,’ Saunders, (played by Gillian McCafferty), is a mine of information.
The scene moves to dinner with Julia and friend Jane Banbury (played by Sara Crowe) providing an absolutely riveting performance as two women in 1920’s evening wear getting drunk and quarrelling over an old flame who they both met in Italy before they were married.
The sense of period is beautifully captured with servant Saunders trying not to look down her nose at their antics and maintain some decorum.
Robin Sebastian, Tim Wallers
The following morning their husbands reappear, Jane Banbury’s ‘Willy,’ (played by Robin Sebastian) and Fred are most put out by their wives’ infidelity and become red faced with indignation. But just as their wives have managed to smooth ruffled feathers who should arrive?
The final cast member Maurice Duclos (played by Philip Battley) makes a grand entrance!
Writer Noel Coward 1899-1973 was one of England’s 20th century great playwrights. He had a string of successful hits in the 1920’s which included Fallen Angels opening in 1925. After WWII he moved with the times becoming a cabaret and TV star in America. Later in his career as an actor, he appeared in Our Man In Havana (1959) and ‘Mr Big’ with Michael Caine in The Italian Job (1968).
The play lasts one hour and 50 mins. It was just the right length to keep the audience rocking with laughter and excited as to what twist is coming next.
The Theatre Royal’s stage was perfect for the scene of tranquil gentility in the Englishman’s home. The drawing room featured a marble column and ancient portico above the doorway, rather like the modern day Egyptian Hall in the City of London’s Mansion House.
An excellent evening’s entertainment from director Roy Marsden and designer Paul Farnsworth.
Picture credits Darren Bell