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In Noël Coward’s “Fallen Angels,” Two Best Friends Nearly Come to Blows Over a Former Lover

Best friends Lynda Clark (left) and Sandi Sullivan prepare to duke it out in University Theatre during N.C. State's presentation of Sir Noel Coward's romantic comedy "Fallen Angels"

Best friends Lynda Clark (left) and Sandi Sullivan prepare to duke it out in University Theatre during N.C. State's presentation of Sir Noel Coward's romantic comedy "Fallen Angels"

University Theatre at N.C. State will present Fallen Angels, an effervescent romantic comedy by English actor and playwright Sir Noël Peirce Coward (1899-1973), on May 24-27 and 30 and June 2-3, 7, and 10 as part of TheatreFest 2012: A Knockout Season of Dueling Duos. The show will be staged in the Titmus Theatrein Frank Thompson Hall on the NCSU campus.

Fallen Angels will be performed in rotating repertory with Lettice and Lovage by Peter Shaffer (May 31-June 1 and June 3, 6, 8-10, 13, and 16-17 in Kennedy-McIlwee Studio Theatre in Frank Thompson Hall) and The Sunshine Boys by Neil Simon (June 14-15, 17, and 20-24 in the Titmus Theatre). University Theatre director of theater John C. McIlwee will stage Lettice and Lovage in the theater that bears his name, and University Theatre assistant director and acting coach Allison Bergman will direct The Sunshine Boys in the Titmus Theatre.

Fallen Angels is set in the dining-drawing room of the London flat of Fred and Julia Sterroll (John McIlwee and Lynda Clark) during the Roaring Twenties. Written in 1923, according to Coward’s official website, the play was first produced in 1925 in London’s West End and opened on Broadway two years later.

According to Samuel French,

“Best friends now happily married to others, Julia and Jane [Clark and Sandi Sullivan as Jane Banbury] both once counted the dashing Frenchman Maurice [Ron Foreman] as their lover. Guess who’s back in town and requesting the pleasure of the ladies company? [Fallen Angels is] Coward at his inimitable best, [and] the story is a champagne cocktail of wit and charm.”

University Theatre at N.C. State adds:

Fallen Angels is the story of … two upper-class women in England in 1925. They are married to Fred and Willy [John McIlwee and Paul Paliyenko as Willy Banbury]. Maurice, a former French lover of the two women, shows up while their husbands are away on a golf trip. As a result, Julia and Jane become concerned that secrets from their past will be revealed.

Fallen Angels is very much a comedy of manners among the ‘upper-crust’ society in early 20th Century England.”

In addition to the actors and actresses named above, the TheatreFest cast for Fallen Angels also includes Joanne Dickinson as Saunders. N.C. State adjunct instructor and Common Ground Theatre managing director Rachel Klem of Durham will direct the show. Her creative team includes technical director David Jensen; assistant technical director Andrew Korhonen; scenic designer Jayme Mellema; lighting and sound designer Joshua A. Reaves; costume, hair, and makeup designer John McIlwee; and stage manager Randall Rehfuss.

University Theatre at N.C. State presents FALLEN ANGELS at 7:30 p.m. May 24-26, 2 p.m. May 27, 7:30 p.m. May 30, 7:30 p.m. June 2 and 3, 7:30 p.m. June 7, and 2 p.m. June 10 in the Titmus Theatre in Frank Thompson Hall, 2241 E. Dunn Ave., Raleigh North Carolina 27607, on the NCSU campus.

TICKETS: $15 ($5 NCSU students and $13 other students and seniors).

BOX OFFICE: 919-515-1100 or






The Play (background): (Wikipedia).

The Script: (Google Books).

The Playwright: (official website) andël_Coward (Wikipedia).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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