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La Weekly 5/2/01

Angel’s Flight
By Madeleine Shaner

Escaping the orange groves of her small-town girlhood, Alicia (the mostly inaudible Marin Van Vleck), seeking adventure … and herself, treks to Los Angeles in 1902 to find Erik Satie (Cameron Mitchell Jr.), the eccentric French composer, who is playing piano in a brothel while fleeing his own destiny. Tricked into starting a new career by a whorehouse madam, incongruously named Big Sal (a feisty Rebecca Klingler), who has her own secrets, Alicia meets and eats the man of her dreams, local cad about town Randolph Weston (Geoff Erwin). After numerous tribulations involving the local rampaging society ladies, Alicia’s mother’s (Von Rae Wood) sanity, her father’s (an exceptional Adam Menken) philandering, a sadly addicted hooker (an affecting Victoria Charters), an orange pickers’ walkout, and a redemptive takeover of the orange grove by the displaced whores, everyone gets what he or she wants. Clyde Derrick (music, book, lyrics and piano accompaniment) has written a sweetly wholesome score, slightly repetitive, but with two particularly pleasant overtures and a few rousing numbers (“Monogamy”, “Going to a Wedding” and “Live”) which could have lifted this unmemorable show out of the doldrums had the voices – both singing and speaking – been stronger, the book less simple minded, the wretched church-hall lighting and acoustics improved, and the slipshod direction (Stefan Novinski) tightened up.