Review: Angels In America Makes Heavenly Theatre

Neil Dowden
By Neil Dowden Last edited 12 months ago
Review: Angels In America Makes Heavenly Theatre
Photo: Helen Maybanks

Tony Kushner's epic two-part Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia at the National Themes examines big themes of sexuality, religion and politics through the overlapping intimate relationships of two warring couples and a lonely individual coming to terms with AIDS in Reagan's 1980s America. It sounds heavy, but Millennium Approaches and Perestroika have many laugh-out-loud, as well as painfully moving, moments during their seven and a half hours. This spectacular revival from Marianne Elliott makes full use of the resources of the cavernous Lyttelton stage with Ian MacNeil's revolving set capturing the play's surreal flights of fancy.

The superb, multi-roling cast is led by Andrew Garfield as a suffering ex-drag queen and Nathan Lane as the notoriously ruthless right-wing lawyer and Trump mentor Roy Cohn. Although thankfully AIDS is no longer the death sentence it once was, and homophobia has declined, Kushner's portrait of a deeply divided, intolerant society seems even more frighteningly relevant now. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX, £20 per play (ballot only), until 19 August ★★★★★ [Monday‒Saturday]

Last Updated 10 May 2017