My Three Angels: A Gift From Heaven

Amy Golden

After Thanksgiving and before Christmas comes the traditional movies hit the television airwaves. Movies such as Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story and many other classic Christmas movies play on numerous TV channels. and to include seasonal theater plays which are held at our very own Grossmont College by the Theater Arts Department.

December started with a play called My Three Angels, an adaptation from the play La Cuisine Des Anges or We’re No Angels, which in 1955 starred Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov as the main characters. A version appealing to a more youthful audience, was made in 1989 starring Sean Penn, Robert DeNiro and Demi Moore.

The play was about three convicts escaping from Devil’s Island, a French island for prisoners, who made their way to a family’s home and help them surpass their manipulative, corrupt family members who try consistently to hold them back. Not exactly signing up for the assignment, the three escaped convicts work their way into the hearts of the Ducotel family, set things right for them, find good in themselves even with their pasts filled with wrongdoings, and redeeming those pasts.

The play started off with the typical introduction to the seated guests, a voice requesting “from above” in a dirty French accented translation, making interests rise in anticipation to see how the play would “play” itself out. The “dirty” French accent sounded like the character came straight from the kitchen in The Little Mermaid as the Chef who’s about to cook Sebastian.

Felix, the older store keeping cousin resembled John Lithgow in timid, almost sad persona. The “Three Angels” began behaving as the three stooges with a murder sentence for 2 out of 3 and they sure gave the audience a pretty hilarious performance with “out loud laughs” throughout the entire play. The three angels brought in their own sense of comedy as each personified his own character.

The “three angels” giving life to the script as Alfred, seemingly the most reasonable, logical of the “Angels”, Joseph, the goofy, easily excitable accountant with similarities to the mad-hatter, and Jules, the sporty muscle man of the group with a Jean-Claude Van Damme accent. Mary-Louise, the shopkeeper’s daughter was a young, hyper-pitch girl in love with the wrong kind of guy. That wrong kind of guy turned out to be Paul, a sniveling, timid, feminine nephew of the business owner Henri.

 Henri was an impatient, ungrateful, manipulative kind of man who got his just dessert in the end from good ole Alfred, Jules’ pet snake. Sometimes, as shown in this case, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Poor, poor Ducotel’s, having to deal with such evil people for so long, but Felix still giving them the benefit of the doubt as he does until the end. Every time the shop-owning cousin was mentioned it sounded as if he was being called ornery with the French accented Henri.

This play was a very light-hearted, comedic display of Christmas spirit in a condemned society of murderers and thieves. Director Jerry Hager said that it “was a HOOT to work with these actors” and they displayed in their colorful performance perfectly what he meant in his statement. The actors corralled a standing ovation from the filled theater on its opening night, with hoots and hollers from audience members showing how their hard work paid off.

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