By Diana Saenger
Prepare for an entertaining trip back to 1925 when North Coast Repertory Theatre opens its 33rd season with Noël Coward’s “Fallen Angels.”
Director Rosina Reynolds said she took on the play with gusto when Artistic Director David Ellenstein asked her. Among the projects on her amazing resume — she was part of a “Fallen Angels” production years ago at the Gaslamp Quarter Theater.
“Noël Coward is the master of repartee. He knows how to write a witty, well-written, well-constructed play,” she said. “His work parallels that of Richard Brinsley Butler Sheridan, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde, with high comedy and clever language.”
“Fallen Angels” is set in 1925 London. Julia Sterroll (Joanna Strapp) and Jane Banbury (Summer Spiro) have been best friends for a long time; so close that seven years ago they had an affair with the same Frenchman, Maurice Duclos (Richard Baird). Since then, they’ve both been married for five years to two Englishmen.
Out of the blue, they receive a postcard that Maurice is in town.
“They freak out,” Reynolds said. “They love their husbands and respect them; but are not in love with their husbands. After five years with that sense of restlessness, they’re still looking for romance and passion.”
The cast of the show includes returning artists and new artists to NCRT.
“I wanted young actresses for the right spin on the play,” Reynolds said. “Because these characters are very close friends, they have to know how to ring the other person’s bell. It’s a wonderful give-and-take and back-and-forth between them. One minute they’re leaning on each other for support to stand firm in their decisions, and the next, they’re competing and fighting with each other. It’s actually rather insightful on the mercurial quality of women’s minds.”
She credits stage manager Aaron Rumley, set designer Marty Burnett and lighting master Matt Novotny for performing miracles with the staging. “The NCRT stage is a tiny, very challenging space. There’s no wing space, no back stage, no height,” she said. “They made it all work. Also, costume designer Alina Bokovikova did a lovely job on the 1920s styles, which is very important in representing the era.”
Still, the question remains for theatergoers: Will the “Fallen Angels” remain faithful to their husbands or run away rather than confront Maurice? With such talent behind the story, you’ll surely want to see it told.
“Fallen Angels” runs Sept. 3-28 at North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. Tickets from $37; call 858-481-1055; visit