MY THREE ANGELS: A Different Kind of Christmas Play

by Jean Brenner

Brian Jason Kelly of Doylestown; Marty Berrien of Lawrenceville, NJ; and John Helmke of Hamilton, NJ in a scene from Actors'NET of Bucks County's MY THREE ANGELS.

MY THREE ANGELS, an entertaining comedy written by Sam and Bella Spewack, fulfilled its intent.  It entertained the audience Friday night at the opening.  Under the direction of Ed Patton, it is produced by Actors’ Net of Bucks County at the Heritage Center in Morrisville.

The premise is simple: three convicts – make that three murderers — on a work release program ingratiate themselves in the home of the Ducotel Family who live behind a general store they operate in Cayenne, French Guiana, December, 1910.

Feeling compassion for the prisoners repairing their roof, Emilie Ducotel invites them to stay for Christmas Eve dinner and to spend the night. In return, “Angels” Joseph, Jules and Alfred show their gratitude by helping the Ducotel family in many ways: cooking dinner, setting the table, carrying luggage for guests, waiting on customers, helping with bookkeeping and giving advice. The angels make themselves very comfortable in the environs of a home instead of a prison, showing there may be good in everyone, even those who have killed people.

The Angels were excellent together! The primary actors were comfortable, relaxed, funny and believable. For the most part, their timing was excellent. After just a few more performances, the pace will pick up and the experienced cast of MY THREE ANGELS should snake through the script like a well-oiled clock.

Susan Blair played the mother, Emilie Ducotel, while Ken Ammerman played her husband, Felix, the kind, albeit somewhat caricatured shop owner.

Curtis Kaine, a strong experienced actor, interpreted with meanness and gusto the role of rich Uncle Henri who comes to check on the books of his cousin shop-keeper.

As Henri’s nephew, Brian Enright reached a higher performance level as the show neared its end and he began to emulate the personality of his nasty uncle. Earlier, he seemed a bit too wishy washy, but perhaps he wanted to leave himself a “place to go” in portraying the character.

Kate Skelly, who “looked” right in the role of young Mary Louise, did not capture the genuineness in her character interpretation that I would have liked, largely because her voice simply was too high-pitched for a woman in her 20’s.

Performers act on a very small stage in the intimate Actors’Net theatre, with limited wing and back stage space, but director Ed Patton was very creative in his use of the small living/dining room area and the suggestion of an exterior garden.

Lighting and sound were executed appropriately.

Joe and Cheryl Doyle, seeing the need to lighten up on their directing responsibilities at their playhouse, have invited others to direct for them occasionally while they continue to produce shows. The next show, COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA, which will be directed by C. Jameson Bradley.

by Sam and Bella Spewack
Directed by Ed Patton
December 2–18, 2011
Actors’NET of Bucks County
Heritage Center
635 N. Delmorr Ave
Morrisville, PA

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