BWW Review: ANGEL AND ECHOES at 59E59 Theaters is Exceptional Drama
"The men seem to twist the laws to suit them, but for us, the laws are rigid."
An exceptional drama, ANGEL & ECHOES written by Henry Naylor, is now onstage at 59E59 Theaters through May 7th. Performed in one evening, ANGEL is directed by Michael Cabot and ECHOES is directed by Emma Butler. The plays challenge the roles of women living in the Middle East and are a real testimony to human strength. ANGEL & ECHOES is part of the Brits Off-Broadway festival that will continue at 59E59 Theaters through July with an excellent line-up of shows.
After seeing ECHOES performed at Brits Off Broadway last year, I was anxious to view it again. It portrays the stories of two women who are born 175 years apart, but their lives share intriguing parallels. Both of them are married to brutal military men as they attempt to build their lives in the Middle East, far from their native homes in Britain. Rachel Smyth plays Tillie, a Victorian woman, who is wed to "The Leftenant." Even though she tries to be a dutiful wife, her empathy for the impoverished and suppressed people she meets in Afghanistan causes her to rebel. Serena Manteghi plays Samira, an Islamist schoolgirl, who travels to Syria to marry a man she never met, an ISIS fighter. Samira soon finds herself trapped physically and emotionally in a society that she loathes and fears. The women's stories are affecting and often alarming. Smyth and Manteghi are outstanding in their roles. They deliver compelling narratives and seamlessly assume other parts to tell the stories of Tillie and Samira. This two hander is an unforgettable theatrical experience.
ANGEL is inspired by a modern legend about the Angel of Kobane, a young Kurdish freedom fighter, who is believed to have shot 100 ISIS fighters when they seized her small town of Kobane in Syria. Angel, the daughter of a farmer, aspires to be a lawyer. But when her family is driven from their home, she goes in search of her father who has gone off to fight in the war. Angel encounters treacherous conditions that forever change the course of her future. Avital Lvova's solo performance as Angel is stunning. She plays the challenging role with remarkable energy and passion. Lvova adopts many parts to bring Angel and the people who surround her to life.
The team for ANGEL & ECHOES includes AEA Stage Manager, Veronica Aglow; Producer Henry Naylor for Redbeard Theatre; Karen Koren for Gilded Balloon; Katy Koren for Gilded Balloon; and Stephanie Lim for ECHOES Social Media.
ANGEL & ECHOES are two plays that are well paired to portray the devastating effects of war and tyranny. This meaningful production will open up essential conversations. Metropolitan area audiences should plan to make it part of their spring theater schedule.
ANGEL AND ECHOES runs for two hours with one intermission. It is on a limited engagement through Sunday, May 7th at 59E59 Theaters. The theater is located at (59 East 59th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues).The performance schedule is Tuesday - Friday at 7:15 PM; Saturday at 2:15 PM & 7:15 PM; and Sunday at 3:15 PM. Tickets are $35 ($24.50 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at 212.279.4200 or visit www.59e59.org.
Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg