West Coast Florida
The three women are supported by Jason Bradley and Andrew Carter as the husbands and David Breitbarth as Maurice Duclos, the long ago lover. None of the parts are all that interesting, partly because none of the men appear in the second act, but all of them give excellent performances. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Asolo Repertory Theater is watching the same actors play wildly different roles in the same season, often in the same week. Ms. Clemens, Mr. Bradley and Mr. Carter were the three friends at the center of Kaufman and Hart's Once in a Lifetime earlier this season. Ms. Clemens is starring in a production of Yentl (not seen or reviewed). Even though Once in a Lifetime and Fallen Angels are only separated by about eight years in their writing, they are worlds apart in style. Both are brilliantly served by directors who gave us very stylish productions, perfectly in tune with their eras.
Fallen Angels premiered in London in 1925 and was called scandalous and shocking by critics, which of course helped it at the box office. After the initial run it pretty much disappeared until it resurfaced a couple of years ago. Director Peter Amster has pulled wonderful performances from all involved and managed the clipped rhythms, so essential to Coward's work. His value to this production can not be over estimated.
Other elements contributing to the merriment are the fabulous costumes of Virgil C. Johnson, hair and wig design by Michelle Hart, and the sumptuous setting by Robert Mark Morgan. At the end of the first act, Ms. Hampton emerges, ready to go out with friend Ms. Clemens, both wearing very stylish '20s hats often referred to as a cloches, after the French style. The hats produced a slight gasp from various members of the audience, they are so effective, as are all the ladies' costumes.
Even with an imperfect play, Asolo Repertory has offered its audience a delectable morsel of 1920s fun and merriment.
Asolo Repertory Theater presents Noël Coward's Fallen Angels through May 13, 2012, at the Mertz Theater in the FSU Center. 5555 N. Tamiami Trail. Sarasota, Florida. Box Office (941) 351-8000. For more information visit www.asolorep.org.
Director: Peter Amster
Asolo Repertory Theater announced its 2012-2013 season last week, and it is a doozy. There is an overall theme to the entire season"The American Character"and it includes a musical that is near and dear to my heart, 1776, and four Pulitzer Prize winning plays, You Can't Take it with You, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Heidi Chronicles and the latest winner, Claybourne Park, soon to appear on Broadway. These are just the highlights, for more information visit www.asolorep.org.