Nicole Serratore Reviews for theStage.co.uk
Theatre productions beamed into the cinema act as soft diplomacy for the industry. It expands access beyond physical theatres and national boundaries, and connects audiences to shows they may not otherwise see. But what happens if your ambassador goes full Boris Johnson and puts the wrong foot forward for a show.
Russell Tovey and James McArdle in Angels in America at the National Theatre. Photo: Helen Maybanks.
I attended a full-day marathon of Angels in America in London in May. I was eager to revisit it via the NT Live recorded broadcast. However, rather than giving viewers a front-row seat to Tony Kushner’s magnificent play, the filmed version of Millennium Approaches presented a laboured, plodding work – which was not my experience of the live show.
The film direction greatly improved for Perestroika but will filmgoers return for the second part when three-plus hours of Part One is such a slog?
That first broadcast struggled to find a cinematic perspective that served the theatrical production. Film and theatre can work together as many live screenings have shown. Shot structure, camera placement, lighting, and sound can – when done well – communicate the theatrical vision via film. More of Nicole Review HERE
Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes is a 1993 play in two parts by American playwright Tony Kushner. The work won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Tony Award for Best Play, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.
The play is a complex, often metaphorical, and at times symbolic examination of AIDS and homosexuality in America in the 1980s. Certain major and minor characters are supernatural beings (angels) or deceased persons (ghosts). The play contains multiple roles for several of the actors. Initially and primarily focusing on a gay couple in Manhattan, the play also has several other storylines, some of which occasionally intersect.
The two parts of the play are separately presentable and entitled Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, respectively. The play has been made into a television miniseries, and an opera by Peter Eötvös.
Andrew Garfield playing Prior Walter
Denise Gough playing Harper Pitt
Nathan Lane playing Roy Cohn
James McArdle playing Louis Ironson
Russell Tovey playing Joe Pitt