Review of Fallen Angels at Theater Schmeater
The prospect of a Noël Coward play in a basement fringe theater is a reasonable cause for concern. What should tinkle and sparkle might clunk instead—toasts with plastic martini glasses, whiffs of mildew instead of perfume, last year's debt-ridden theater graduates straining to appear like last century's upper-class Brits. But Theater Schmeater makes it work, nailing the facsimiles when it can (freshly painted wainscoting turns the stage into a creditable drawing room) and exaggerating some elements for comic effect (the characters drawl out some words, like a five-syllable "really," with such severe tonal shifts, they sound like spoken Thai).
Fallen Angels belongs to its women—two pretty wives and a know-it-all maid—who scheme and dream while the naive husbands are off golfing. The wives (Marianna de Fazio and Sara Trowbridge) realize a mutual paramour, a romantic Frenchman, is coming to town and work themselves into a lather. They briefly wrestle with their morals (should they commit adultery?) then each other (who will get to commit adultery first?) while drinking themselves silly. Fallen Angels is not a revelation, but it has splendid poise. This comedy of manners, proper and otherwise, is as light, effervescent, and entertaining as champagne.