Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches (4.5 stars)

Each year, Black Swan Theatre Company brings Perth something truly epic, from Next to Normal to A Streetcar Named Desire, they have pushed boundaries and created a larger than life production. All of those huge productions are eclipsed by Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches. At first, it doesn’t appear to be as epic and grandiose as any other production but once it gains traction, it shows its true form on a massive scale.

Angels in America is a heart-wrenching work following a young homosexual man dying of AIDS in 1980s New York. The story centres on young Prior Walter (Adam Booth) who is in the early stages of the disease, frightened and unsure of what will happen to him as his body rapidly declines into the ravages of the disease. On top of having to face his own mortality, he is fearful of abandonment from his partner, Louis (Will O’Mahoney.) As it turns out, these fears are perfectly justifiable and we watch Louis’ struggle with his partner’s disease. With Prior ill, he is forced to consider his own mortality and questions whether he is committed enough to endure and bear someone else’s suffering.

But of course, there is so much more to it than that. Throw in a conservative closet homosexual lawyer (John Stanton) attempting to wield rather unethical power over Washington by manipulating his Morman prodigy (Stuart Halusz); the young Morman’s agoraphobic wife (Jo Morris) who hallucinates on Valium all too frequently due to her husband’s sexual indifference and you have a tangled web of dramatic tension. Although it seems like this is only a normal play with plot twists and secrets galore, but a regular play nonetheless: there are dreams, hallucinations, shared fantasy and lucid hallucinations, hauntings, and voices.

Each character must look introspectively as the millennium approaches, and seek meaning in his/her life. Religion, morals, fantasy, pain, suffering, and a keen sense of humour and self-awareness run through the biggest production to grace the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. Hold on to your seats, because it’s only half-way through!

When: 23rd May – 19th June 2016

Where: Heath Ledger Theatre, State Theatre Centre WA

Tickets: $32.50 – $82.50

Info: Adult themes, coarse language, frontal male nudity, simulated sex and smoking of herbal cigarettes