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Theater Review: My Three Angels

PC: Jack Grace
Francis Tau’a’s production of “My Three Angels,” which just opened at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei, might just be the most unusual yuletide stage comedy of the season.

It stars Jim Oxborrow, Mark Levine and Orion Milligan as Joseph, Jules and Alfred (respectively), three convicts who are assigned to fix the roof of the Ducotel General Store, which is in physical and financial dire straits. The store owners, played by Anthony Rummel and Tina Kailiponi, believe their situation (and their marriage) is hopeless. Mary Louise, the Ducotel’s daughter (played by a sprightly Hana Vale) is heartbroken and stuck with Paul (a very good turn by Elisha Cullins). The appearance of Henri Trouchard, a rotten, scheming businessman (played by an excellent Lee Garrow) only makes the situation seem more desperate. Thankfully,  Joseph, Jules and Alfred posses surprising abilities that assist the Ducotel family, ranging from accounting, cooking and matchmaking. Also, they’re angels.

PC: Jack Grace

“My Three Angels” is based on an odd French farce, with shades of dark humor and dialog that is sharper than expected. Tau’a’s direction keeps this charming tribute to yuletide generosity well paced and bouncing along from start to finish. His actors all demonstrate spot- on comic timing and find the right rhythm for a comedy that’s full of weird touches but, in the end, is rather sweet.

Oxborrow sports a Mr. Universe physique but has a gentle way with comedy. He’s very funny here, particularly during his winning monologue during a mock trial. Levine’s best scene is a hilarious toy analogy, though he also has a great physical bit with a chicken. Milligan is a stylish performer who finds the sweetness within his twisted character. The three leads make an effective comic trio, sporting pink prison garb and an ability to play the angels as child-like, vaguely sinister and utterly goofy.

PC: Jack Grace

Beth Garrow has a killer cameo, playing a woman who actually declares, “I find convicts so convenient, so cheap, so willing.” Ms. Garrow makes a great entrance and brings real zest to her small role. Kailiponi is a natural, nuanced actress who shares a great scene with Levine near the end of the act two. Lee Garrow is once again playing an older, highly disagreeable and outright villainous character. This is not a bad thing. On the contrary, Garrow is sublime in these roles; he’s the De Niro of indignation. Watching Garrow spar with Oxborrow is especially fun. Kiegan Otterson pops up in the very end. providing a perfect capper to the proceedings.

The costume design by Vicki Nelson and sound design by Richard Vetterli is aces and I liked Caro Walker’s unique set (appropriately both lived-in cozy and in a state of disrepair). There’s something refreshingly old fashioned about Tau’a’s production, with its blend of mirth and fiendish humor. It is, as far as I know, the only Christmas-themed comedy involving a killer snake.

My Three Angels is playing at the ProArts Playhouse at the Azeka Shopping Center Dec 1st-17th. Tickets are available at www.proartsmaui.com or by calling 808-463-6550.

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About Barry Wurst II

Barry Wurst II

Barry Wurst II is a senior editor & film critic at MAUIWatch. He wrote film reviews for a local Maui publication and taught film classes at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs (UCCS). Wurst also co-hosted podcasts for Screengeeks.com and has been published in Bright Lights Film Journal and in other film-related websites. He is currently featured in the new MAUIWatch Podcast- The NERDWatch.

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