Two married women, the impending return of a mutual love affair and a hell of a lot of champagne.
It all adds up to a bundle of laughs and a few home truths in Noel Coward’s Fallen Angels.
Starring Jenny Seagrove and Sara Crowe, a new production directed by Roy Marsden comes to the Rose Theatre on Monday for a week long run.
The Surrey Comet caught up with Seagrove as she was rehearsing for the show in Windsor, where the play opened this week. “It’s wonderful, a total joy,” she said. “It’s funny but also thought provoking.
“Even though it is in 1925, it really is a discussion about friendship, love and marriage, and these subjects resonate whether its 1925 or 2014.”
Fallen Angels is the story of Julia (Seagrove) and Jane (Crowe), two lifelong friends whose marriages have both gone slightly cold.
While their husbands are away playing golf, they receive a message informing them a former lover, a dark brooding Frenchman, is visiting London and would like to meet up.
In a mixture of panic, temptation, confused loyalties and brooding resentments, the ladies do the only thing they can – hit the bottle. Hard.
Seagrove and Crowe get more than a little tipsy in the second act
“It was very, very shocking when it was first performed - two middle class women getting drunk and admitting to having an affair,” says Seagrove, who is perhaps best known today for her role as Jo Mills in BBC legal drama Judge John Deed.
“The discussion is about friendship and if it’s wrong or right to have a relationship outside of your marriage if it has gone a bit stale.”
While there might be a more serious side to the play, the drunken set-up allows both actors to show their consummate comic abilities. “We get absolutely slaughtered in act two,” says Seagrove. “When acting drunk, it’s very easy to do too much.
“It gives you licence to be very silly but there’s a difference between cod drunk and actually, really drunk.
“I don’t normally corpse but I’ve gone in this a few times.
“Sometimes I’m speechless with laughter and I don’t mind that. It works in this because for some reason the audience find it even funnier.”
Seagrove believes it helps that she and Crowe are good friends off stage, which adds to the chemistry when they are on.
“We know we’ve got chemistry and friendship and trust,” she says. “It’s very important to have trust when both characters are funny. It’s very easy to ruin somebody’s laugh, and actresses have fallen out before when doing this show.
“But we could never fall out – we just love working together.”
Fallen Angels, Rose Theatre, High Street, Kingston Monday, January 27 to Saturday, February 1 Tickets £5-£28 Visit rosetheatrekingston.org or call 08444 821 556