Theatre Review: Angels in America

FIFTY+SA Arts Reviewer, David Jobling, shares his thoughts on Angels in America written by Tony Kushner and presented by University of Adelaide's Theatre Guild.

The epic play Angels in America comes in two parts – Part One: Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika. The first part won the playwright Kushner a Pulitzer Prize for Drama thirty years ago because it presented homosexual characters in a new light on the American stage.

It is an ambitious project for Adelaide University Theatre Guild mainly because presenting both parts amounts to six hours of live theatre, a marathon for the ensemble of eight actors. Director Hayley Horton has kept the staging simple in her quest to bring life into her monumental production.

An audience may choose to attend the two parts of the play over consecutive nights, or sit through the whole epic in one day as I did.

The intimate venue proved to be challenging at times with some of the action placed in awkward positions limiting the view of action for some scenes, but overall the strengths in the production outweighed any shortcomings.

Lindsay Prodea and Casmira Lorien were outstanding as the dysfunctional Mormon couple Joe and Harper Pitt, dealing with personal identity crises, and Kate Anolak as Ethel Rosenberg (plus multiple other roles) gave a compelling performance.

Each member of the ensemble took their opportunity to steer the audience through the complex story with numerous emotional twists and turns that make this an extraordinary play to absorb. The story is complex and reaches over generations of time, as well as, into deep fantasy related to faith, religion and identity.

Various characters wrestle with Angels and anxieties as political corruptions challenge a society dealing with the shock of AIDS and the hypocrisies of a government out of step with contemporaneous reality.

To say any more could spoil the experience of this tragi-comic epic of modern American history.

Angels in America

Until 25th of May, 2024

Little Theatre, University of Adelaide


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