REVIEW: Fallen: The Book of Samael @ Ottawa Fringe 2012

In Glassiano Productions’ presentation of Fallen: The Book of Samael, Samael begins to doubt mob boss/God-proxy Papa’s motives and leads a coup against him.

Fallen: The Book of Samael is farce about Samael, a hitman for a pseudo mob boss cryptically named “Papa”. When Sam kills a man who didn’t deserve it, he starts to doubt Papa’s intentions and considers rebellion, leading him in to conflict with Michael, Papa’s right hand man. The play, obviously, draws its inspiration from Christian theology but at its heart, Fallen is a farce with a neo-noir twist. Fallen is a very,very funny show, perhaps one of the funniest I’ve seen so far. All of the actors deserve credit because their comedic sense and timing is incredible. The physical gags, the line delivery, the sight gags. Everything is delivered with maximum comedic punch. With enough people in the audience, the theatre would have exploded. Even the smallest role gets the opportunity to shine.

There are two musical numbers during the show, played during scene changes. They’re kind of ridiculous in their execution, are only loosely connected to the plot and not meant to be taken seriously but the play didn’t really benefit from their inclusion. It seems like they’re just silliness for the sake of silliness and the play is funny enough on its own without it. Three.

Allan’s Followup:

Was this a farcical comedy like the promo says? ‘Cause while there were a couple laughs, the play wasn’t all that funny and this was no where near the timing of most farces I’ve seen. Was this a script for a farcical comedy that the director decided to try out as a drama? That would especially explain the long-drawn out dramatic backstory monologues from Samael and Azrael about coming into the brotherhood — which felt totally unnecessary, by the way. But it doesn’t explain the random silliness. I don’t think that Fallen: The Book of Samael knew what it wanted to be and so suffered for it.

It’s a gem of an idea. Telling a religious story in a mob setting with God and his archangels acting as the mob, and absentee mob boss, Papa, standing in as God-proxy. As a drama, I would have loved to see even more religious allegory and closer parallels to fallen angels. And maybe not such a random and absurdly lame ending. As a farce, I would have loved a much quicker pacing and much more fun. As a farce, the ending may have made sense. No, no it wouldn’t have. It ended like a writer got to a point where he said “aw, screw it, this play’s done” and then got to “Curtain” as quick as possible.

And the cops, really? Could their scenes have been any more pointless. This is in no way a comment on the actors but fully based on the content and direction: low two.

- by Allan Mackey

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Kurt Shantz

About Kurt Shantz

Kurt Shantz is a Theatre and Scriptwriting graduate and an occasional Should You See It reviewer. He currently works as a warehouse clerk, but has big aspirations of someday achieving his dream of becoming a senior warehouse clerk. He's also been known to write on occasion.

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