Saturday, February 28, 2015

Angels in America Part 2: Perestroika

This weekend is your last opportunity to see Olympia Little Theatre’s staged reading of Angels in America Part 2: Perestroika.
I attended the opening night performance. That night there were almost as many actors on stage as there were audience members in seats. Come on, folks. We can fill seats for light musical comedy and other forms of theatrical pabulum but we can’t fill seats for Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning drama?
Tony Kushner’s Angels in America will go down in history as one of America’s great theatrical experiences.
This will be a brief review as I already said most of what needs to be said in my review of Angels in America Part 1: Millennium Approaches at Olympia Little Theatre. Suffice it to say that everything that made that performance outstanding—a marvelous cast comprised of Christian Carvajal, Anthony Neff, Bonnie Vandver, Phil Folan, Austin C. Lang, Terrence Lockwood, Sarah May, and Andrea Weston-Smart; and a unique set and outstanding direction by Niclas R. Olson—is here in abundance.
If anything, Part 2 is more intense, more outlandish and funnier. Everything is kicked up a notch. Vandver shone in multiple roles in Part 1 and shines even brighter in this one as Hannah Pitt and as the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg. Lockwood and Weston-Smart have bigger parts and connect more intensely with the audience. Roy Cohn, a despicable human being played convincingly by Carvajal, is even more loathsome in Part 2.
The humor . . . well, it’s hard to say how such deathly serious themes can be handled with such outlandish humor while still driving home serious commentary. The sex scene between Prior Walter (Folan) and the angel (Weston-Smart) might be the funniest and most graphic sex scene ever performed with clothes on.

Angels in America is subtitled “A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.” It offers a harsh and unflinching look at the worst years of the AIDS crisis with ghosts, an angel, and adult language. It is an adult-only production. I salute Olympia Little Theatre for doing it.

WHEN: 7:55 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 1:55 p.m. Sunday, through March. 1
WHERE: Olympia Little Theatre, 1925 Miller Ave., NE, Olympia
INFORMATION: (360) 786-9484,
Tip jar - With the exception of reviews reprinted from my monthly theater column in The News Tribune and my weekly art criticism column in the Weekly Volcano, I do not get paid for reviews. There’s a tip jar in the sidebar to the right. Tips help cover my expenses and every little bit helps. Thank you.

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