Angels In America: Surreal, Sexual and Breathtakingly Brilliant
Andrew Garfield is astonishingly brilliant in this new National Theatre production of the classic play...
The prospect of a seven and a half hour show is not the most immediately appealing of prospects, no matter the experience (yes, we’re even looking at you, One Direction fans).
So it says an illuminating amount that a trip to see Angels in America at the National Theatre positively flies by - an intoxicating, hilarious and incredibly moving theatrical smorgasbord, and one of the must-see art experiences of the year.
Sure, you can view both parts on separate days, but we wanted to mainline the iconic “gay fantasia on national themes” - and it did not disappoint.
ICYMI, Tony Kushner’s play about the AIDS crisis of the mid 1980s, and the sprawling uncertainty, fear and prejudice that came with it, was a revelation when it debuted back in 1993. Ten years later, HBO created a miniseries version, starring - brace yourselves - Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Patrick Wilson and many more. It was, unsurprisingly, an enormous critical hit, winning Emmys and Golden Globes left, right and centre.
This revival at the National Theatre has a similarly Hollywood-starred cast, with Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge, The Amazing Spider-Man) and Nathan Lane (Modern Family, The Lion King) leading the dramatic charge, and Brits Russell Tovey (Looking, Being Human), Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Misfits, Utopia), Denise Gough (The Fall, What Remains) supporting in turns equally as affecting and magical.
It’s an A-star acting ensemble supported by an equally as dazzling stage production and direction. Crafting a show that has angels descending from the ceiling (and then sex-wrestling the protagonists), flamethrower-style bursts of righteous hellfire, bed bound scenes of deep introspection and the occasional wet dream, emotionally dense and dialogue-heavy character tete-a-tetes and journeys to otherworldly locales (no spoilers here) is no mean feat - doing it in a way that makes narrative and production-sense, even less so. But a smart, lean, neon-themed rotating stage, and an incredibly anchoring turn by Garfield ensures you’re entranced throughout.
Weird, wonderful and wilfully stimulating, Angels in America is modern theatre at its finest.
Can't catch it on-stage? National Theatre Live is celebrating its 60th broadcast with a live stream of Angels in America to global cinemas from the National Theatre with Part 1 on Thursday 20th July and Part 2 on Thursday 27th July. Click here to find out more about National Theatre Live.