Fallen Angels – Smock Alley – Review
18 – 23 Mar 2019 | 7:30pm | 2:30pm on Sat 23rd | Main Space
This play is an early work by Noel Coward and was first staged when he was only 26 years old. It opened in 1925 and shocked audiences with its depiction of women who were sexually active before marriage and were considering committing adultery. It was a step outside the norms of its time and almost fell foul of the official theatre censor in London. Now, almost a hundred years later, Blacklight Productions have brought it to Smock Alley for one week only.
The play tells the story of two women, Jane and Julia, who are married a number of years and growing bored with their vows. An old flame from their past is about to enter the proceedings. Maurice is a sophisticated French man and both of the women had a romance with him before they were married. The two women are excited about the news and wonder what to do. Should they disappear out of London, safely out of his reach or fall back into his embrace once more? Their hapless husbands disappear off to play golf while the women are making their decision.
This is a new production by Blacklight Productions, who are a young theatre company with an emphasis on “challenging, critical, and encouraging collaboration”. One interesting choice in this production is that all the actors appear in ‘black and white”, with their skin painted grey to appear as if in an old movie. The muted palette is an interesting idea and is carried on through all costumes and items on stage. The night of the performance there were a number of technical difficulties, with a dastardly curtain rail and an awkward cigarette lighter. The actors dealt well with these minor mishaps and kept going throughout.
The production works on many levels but never really captured the humour of the text. It may move up a gear as the cast polish their performances later in the run. With the recent change of direction of the Gate theatre, there is now a gap in the market for work such as this. There are no theatres in Dublin focusing on classics. People love the sharp word play and style of theatre from this era and Coward is possibly its finest exponent.
WRITTEN BY: Noel Coward
DIRECTED BY: Cliodhna McAllister
SET DESIGN BY: Henrique Caliento
COSTUME DESIGN BY: Henrique Caliento
CONSULTING DESIGNER : Fiona Mitchell
SOUND DESIGN BY: Karima Dillon-El Toukhy
MAKEUP DESIGN: Elinor Wilkman
CHOREOGRAPHY: Anna McAllister
Understudy: Aoife O’Sullivan