Fallen Angels, Noël Coward’s 1925 farce about two wealthy British women tempted by the return of their French lover, is bringing laughs to the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach.
Under the expert direction of Nicola Cavendish, the champagne-bubbly witty romp pokes fun at the foibles of the British upper class.
While set in the 1920s the themes, which include stale marriages and the lure of lustful sex, are just as relevant today.
During the dress rehearsal performance the cast of six were in excellent form serving up plenty of laughs and slapstick humour.
Because not every actor had their lines memorized, the play got off to a bumpy start but once the actors got into the meat of the play, Acts II and III were laugh-out-loud funny.
The action centers on Julia Sterroll performed by Liz Riddalls and her best friend, Jane performed by Sally Tilbe, who are bored with their husbands and pining for long lost passion.
Both women receive notes announcing the impending arrival of Maurice, their mutual lover from their single days, just as their respective husbands, Fred and Willy are leaving together for a golf outing.
In Act I we are introduced to Julia, her husband Fred played by Colin Payne and the maid Saunders performed by Anne Jinks.
Saunders expertise as a know-it-all is brilliantly played by Jinks.
She does a great job of capturing the essence of Saunders as a Cockney maid, who on her first day on the job in the Sterroll home has established that she knows more than Mr. Sterroll does about which clubs to use at the golf course he is off to.
Not only can Saunders expertly play the piano and sing, she speaks French far better than either of her employers and even has a cure for hangovers.
Jinks, with her spot-on comedic timing is a scene stealer during her moments onstage.
When Jane bursts into Julia’s flat concerned that her dalliance with Maurice (suavely depicted by Andrew Brown) will be revealed should he come to London, it sets the scene for the rest of the show.
The ladies spend the day both enthralled and terrified that Maurice will show up at the flat and their past secrets will be exposed.
Over dinner they reminisce and deliberate their options while consuming large amounts of champagne and as their debauched evening progresses there are many laugh-out-loud moments.
As the gals go from tipsy to plastered, it leads to some solid slapstick buffoonery by Tilbe whose antics include her crawling under the table searching for her shoes.
Riddalls gives a strong performance portraying Julia as a woman who has settled into the routine of a dull marriage but still longs for her younger years.
When the husbands return, a series of revelations, misunderstandings, and condemnations ensue and the comedy is priceless.
Maurice finally arrives and accuses the men of not paying enough attention to their wives.
Brown’s performance as the French lover is wonderful especially when he sneakily steals kisses from his former flames behind their husband’s backs.
Brian Lecky as Willy also delivers a strong performance.
Phillip Clarkson’s costume design makes the 1920s look like a stylish time to live, especially for upper-crust women.
The dresses are beautiful while the golf attire for the men is spot-on for the era.
The set designed by Werner Koch with a delicious Art Deco-accented sitting room reflects the period perfectly.