Remy Bumppo’s “Fallen Angels” Review – Repartée with Feminine Physical Theater Twist

Emjoy Gavino and Eliza Stoughton


One is surprised to learn in the program notes that “Fallen Angels” is the first ever production by Remy Bumppo of a Noël Coward play.  After all, Coward would seem to be a 100% matchup with their tagline that Remy Bumppo  reminds you of with a cute bookmarker in your program, “Thrill the ear, stir the heart, feed the mind, and spark a conversation.”


Eliza Stoughton and Emjoy Gavino


Breaking it down—with Coward bon mots in nearly every line the criterion of ear thrill is certainly there, and especially if you like those snobbish British accents (Dialect Coach:  Eva Breneman). 


Eliza Stoughton and Emjoy Gavino


Especially for those of us who insist that women get equal pay for equal work and be in all ways equal, “Fallen Angels”, which tells the tale of two women in the 1920’s yearning for the sexual equality that the male gender enjoys, is a topic of passion, even in this sexual farce format. 


Emjoy Gavino and Eliza Stoughton


Feed the mind and spark a conversation? – Yes, isn’t it interesting to think about just how scandalous this play about sexual equality was in the 1920’s and why we rarely get to see any play or movie with such delicious parts for women in it.


Eliza Stoughton and Emjoy Gavino


All this said, what’s most fun about this production is how director Shannon Cochran orchestrates ever so physical gags with gestures and gymnastics.  It begins before the first words are spoken when married couple Julia (Emjoy Gavino) and Fred (Fred Geyer) dance into the room as if they are parade floats with rhythm. 


(Left to right) Annabel Armour, Eliza Stoughton, and Enjoy Gavin


In the second scene when the two women—Julia (Emjoy Gavino) and Jane (Elizabeth Stoughton) descend into a no-holds barred drunk in anticipation of the return of the one-time French lover they have a common history with, it becomes one physical gag after another akin to watching the Three Stooges Minus One and Female.


Annabel Armour


The third woman on the stage is the know-it-all maid they call Saunders (Annabel Armour) ,whom you are trained within minutes of her first lines to smile at whenever she walks on to the stage. 


Fred Geyer and Jesse Dornan


The cast is rounded out by Jane’s husband Willy (Jesse Dornan) and the old French lover Maurice (Joshua Moaney), who may have been a little stiff on opening night but whom one imagines will often steal the show just by showing up and flashing  his megawatt smile.


This is not heavy content.  It’s lite. It’s a diversion.  It’s a chance to watch good actors and great direction.


Now through January 10.


Greenhouse Theater Center

2257 North Lincoln Avenue

Chicago, IL


For tickets and information visit the Remy Bumppo website or call 773 404 7336.




Photos:  Johnny Knight







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