By Lynn Enright.
Written in the early 1990s but set in 1985, there are details in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, a meditation on the AIDS crisis, that now – thankfully – date the play. An HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. This two part extravaganza is staged at the National Theatre at a time when PrEP, a drug that helps to prevent the risk of becoming infected with HIV, is available on the NHS, and equal marriage is a reality in the UK and the USA.
Denise Gough (Harper) and Andrew Garfield (Prior) in Angels in America. Photo by Helen Maybanks.
But there are devastating constants, as cruelly relevant in 2017 as they were in the 1980s and 1990s. You will still find men and women existing in loveless marriages, like Denise Gough’s frustrated Harper and Russell Tovey’s closeted Joseph. And there will perhaps always be limits to love – James McArdle is heart-breaking as the cowardly but relatable Louis, a man who leaves his boyfriend when he finds out he has AIDS.
It’s a given that the camera loves Andrew Garfield, but rarely have we seen him this vulnerable and affecting.
Russell Tovey (Joseph Pitt) in Angels in America. Photo by Helen Maybanks.
Marianne Elliott’s production is a triumph, a two part spectacular that must be seen, and if you missed it on stage (tickets sold out immediately after going on sale), catching a live screening at Vue allows you to witness the performances – and they are brilliant, across the board – up-close. It’s a given that the camera loves Andrew Garfield, but rarely have we seen him this vulnerable and affecting. As Prior, a young man facing AIDs, he is charming, funny, devastating. Angels in America
won a Pulitzer and a Tony back in 1993, and those awards still feel richly deserved watching the National Theatre production in 2017.
But more than that, this is a show that opens hearts, dares us to care, urges us to love as well as we can. It’s magical and mysterious. It’s unmissable.
Get tickets for our live screenings of Angels in America: Part 1 (20th July), and Part 2 (27th July).