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COMEDY. Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue W1 London. Tube: Piccadilly Circus. Tel: +44(0)207-494-5070. Performance Times: Mon - Sat 20:00, Mats Thurs 15:00, Sat 16:00. Performance Length: 2hrs. £11.50-£35. Booking to April 14.

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      12.01.2001 14:43
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      Fallen Angels is a witty light comedy written by Noel Coward, Originally produced in 1924 it is one of Cowards earliest works which thirty years later he revised and updated to set in 1935. It is a vehicle for two female leads, Felicity Kendall and Frances de la Tour, who hold the stage for the majority of the play. Felicity has a huge fan base from the hit television series 'The Good Life', where her elfin good looks, not to mention her rear view in tight jeans made every red-blooded man's heart throb. Born into a theatrical family she has been performing since birth and this experience shows in her masterful command of comic timing. Frances de la Tour's husky voice sends shivers down my spine. She is an actress with a track record from 'Rising Damp' to the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre. The women discuss the arrival of a lover while getting noticeably drunker on cocktails and Champagne. This was originally considered disgracefully shocking and calls were made to ban the play, but has no effect on audiences raised on Jerry Springer. The modern production makes the increasing drunkenness and bickering of the women a clever comic masterpiece. Frances's farcical effort to put on her shoes brought an ovation. Of special note is the part of the housemaid, Saunders, who is an expert on everything, and the wonderful dresses worn by Felicity and Frances. Friendships are broken, husbands estranged, a pistol is raised and a lover from the past arrives at an inopportune time, but all turns out right in the end. And what an end - can anyone explain to me Saunders action at the climax? The theatre has been packed since the show opened on 25 October and its run has just been extended. The ornately decorated Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue celebrates it's centenary in February 2001. If you can imagine an Absolutely Fabulous prequel set in the 1930's this is it. <
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