According to Ruth Hale's play, "Angels on the Loose," angels are former or future humans and as such are prone to have very human emotions and reactions.
The play's "spiritual" characters - Gabe Warner (Michael Canham and John Williams), Daphnee Connelly (Janice Power and Kristine White) and the Little Angel (Rachel Hales and Kaitlin Williams) - each have their reasons for wanting to get Craig Connelly and Liz Warner together.Gabe believes it would give Liz (Georgia Marshall and Holly Bradford) a chance to get out of debt. Daphnee hopes Liz can make Craig (Bryan Moss and Mike Maxfield) start practicing medicine. And the Little Angel wants to have the two as her parents. Of course, that would mean the two would have to fall in love, which Gabe and Daphnee don't want to happen - they want Craig and Liz to cherish their memories.
Even if the trio can get them together, though, there's still Dorothea Smith (Jennifer Krebs) and Janette Bronson (Marianne Clements and Jeanene Bailey), who both have designs on Craig. And Jeff Connelly (Kent West and George Mulvey), Craig's athletically inclined son, and Liz's near-genius son, Anthony (Adam Dietlein and Kyle Cottam), have already made a bad first impression on each other.
The play does eventually reveal how both Gabe and Daphnee died, as well as the emotional baggage Liz and Craig are carrying around as a result of their deaths. Those situations might have become maudlin if dealt with in a strictly dramatic way, but Hale's script wisely chooses to pursue a delightful lighter side.
Many of the play's best lines come from Daphnee and Gabe, who constantly poke fun at the "heavenly" subject matter (such as "Patience, it's a virtue," which Gabe throws out as a piece of nearly silent advice, and his "Her Salisbury steak is a killer. That wasn't what did it, though."), although there are some real groan-out-loud puns too.
That's not to say "Angels on the Loose" doesn't have its serious side. Its main message is that sometimes you have to let go and learn to love again. But instead of getting bogged down in sentimentality, it splits its time between comedy and drama.
Such plays are usually a ball for their performers, and "Angels on the Loose" is no exception.
In the June 15 matinee performance, both "alive" leads, Moss and Marshall, were solid, while Williams avoided being just too cute by a nose. Ruth Hale saved some of the funniest punchlines for herself as the voice of "Heaven's Executive Assistant."
But the best of the bunch were Canham, who used his full acting range to good effect, and Krebs, as Dorothea Smith, who hopes to woo Craig for herself with her cooking.
Canham's devotion to Liz was convincing, and as stated before, he made the best of his zingers. Krebs stole at least one scene with her over-the-top offering of some mild innuendos, which were smartly left alone by other characters before they became vulgar.
Sensitivity rating: Some mild profanity, staged violence and mild innuendos. Pretty tame stuff overall, which makes for acceptable family fare.