Monday, June 6, 2016

Theatre: Angels in America (★★★½)

Stuart Halusz and Jo Morris (pic Daniel James Grant)
by Tony Kushner
Black Swan State Theatre Company
Directed by Kate Cherry
Designed by Christina Smith
Lighting design by Matt Scott
Composer and sound designer Ash Gibson Greig
With Adam Booth, Stuart Halusz, Felicity McKay, Jo Morris, Will O’Mahony, Kenneth Ransom, Toni Scanlan and John Stanton

Heath Ledger Theatre
Until June 19

Tony Kushner’s celebrated Angels in America is a great small play set inside an epic one.
It’s, at once, tightly bound to a particular time and place (America, 1985) and a freewheeling millenarian phantasmagoria.
And it’s a prescient play (or, at least, a lucky one): Kushner’s ferocious angel may not have brought in the Millennium, but its wings beat above New York on 9/11; in the here and now, Donald Trump’s ascendant star uncannily looms above the play.
As thoughtfully directed by Cherry, and with excellent work from all five principal actors, it would stand as complete, deeply thought-provoking, theatre on a smaller canvas.
Kushner, though, has wider and greater ambitions. Hr is attempting nothing less than, as he subtitles his work, “A Gay Fantasia on National Themes”.
This ambition provides Cherry and her designer Christina Smith with some big-moment opportunities and some functional challenges.
There’s also some textual baggage that could have been jettisoned without our understanding of Kushner’s purpose being hampered in the slightest.
But that’s okay.
I hope Cherry, as a parting gift, has embedded Angels in America Part 2: Perestroika in a future Black Swan season.

Read the complete review in The West Australian

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