BWW Reviews: IRT performs Noel Coward's FALLEN ANGELS March 13 - April 15


Noel Coward's FALLEN ANGELS opened on the upper stage at Indiana Repertory Theater, Indianapolis, to a nearly full house this weekend. The British farce, although originally set in the 1920's, was updated to the '50s by the playwright for this modern version.

The two main characters, Julia Sterroll (Cristina Panfilio) and Jane Banbury (Kelsey Brennan), are the closest of friends, and housewives to the dull, settled men who keep them in an upper-middle class lifestyle. Until, of course, they are contacted by a former flame who scorched both ladies with his Frenchman's manières romantiques. Then the fur flies (in this case a pink wrap) drinks are spilled, and insults and secrets are flung as each is positive the other is conniving and manipulating in an effort to get back in the bed of Maurice Duclos (Martin Yurek).

No longer young and vamping around Europe, the girlfriends desperately wish to keep scandalous experiences in the past and their lavish lifestyle intact. Comedy sets in as the women attempt to keep themselves, and each other, from meeting up with the Ladies Man and keep the secrets of their past lives from their boring spouses and nosy housekeeper.

The dullards, portrayed with absolute dryness, are Fred Sterroll (Steve Haggard) and Willy Banbury (Eric Parks). Unaware of, well, pretty much everything, the husbands take their wives for granted and go off on a golf outing.

While the spouses are away, the wives are at play ... with martinis, Champagne, and various smart cocktails in an attempt to numb their deepest romantic desires for heartthrob Maurice. Panfilio and Brennan play off each other with all the timing, self-deprecating antics and finesse as Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance in television's I Love Lucy.

Saunders, the housekeeper, is portrayed brilliantly by Susan Felder as the always-one-more-surprise up her sleeve mystery under-appreciated maid. An expert at many things, including French, guitar playing and etiquette, among other topics, Felder elicits many of the countless rounds of laughter from the audience as she attempts to keep the drunken females from committing permanent damage to the crystal stemware, their reputations and their livers.

Bottom Line: IRT's Fallen Angels is easily the funniest theater offering yet this season in Indianapolis, and an absolute must-see for everyone.

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