Angels in Parramatta

The last time I caught a train to Parramatta I caused a controversy on Facebook. “Why are you doing that?” “What’s going on?” was the shocked and surprised response of many people who may have mistakenly confused me for an inner-city urbanite. It’s partly true, but I have spent two-thirds of my life living in regional Australia, including about 5 years in remote areas. Anyway, I digress.

Tonight we travelled to Parramatta Riverside Theatre to see a very “urban” play, “Angels In America”.

As I’ve spent most of my life living in rural Australia, I didn’t actually see the play when it was first staged in Australia. And I didn’t go to this particular production when it played in Newtown.

But I had seen the mini-series with Meryl Streep et al, which I enjoyed immensely.

In all, “Angels In America” amounts to about 6 hours of theatre, staged in two parts. Tonight we saw part one.

“How did it work as a night of theatre?”, I asked my friend Sam, who had neither seen the play nor the mini-series. He was unsure, as I think he thought a lot was left up in the air, and you really need to see both nights to make a complete judgement.

I, on the other hand, knew what comes next. And for me what happens next is far more interesting. I haven’t checked to see when “part two” runs, though I’m hoping it will be soon.

I really enjoyed tonight’s production. I mean, I like the play because it’s wordy and challenging, but also very entertaining with a great heart, and some fantastic one liners.

For me, the standout performances came from Akos Armont (as Louis), Abi Austin (as his wife, Harper), and Elaine Hudson (who played a variety of roles). They were all totally convincing, and seemed to understand their roles well. As much as I like Tyran Park, I couldn’t help but compare his version of Joe with that of Patrick Wilson who was in the mini-series. For me, Patrick Wilson completely nailed the role of a young Mormon man struggling with his sexuality.

As we glanced through the program, we noticed we were setting next to the set designer which was fortunate, because we both thought the set and design were excellent.

“It didn’t seem like three hours”, we observed to each other on the way home on the train.

In fact, the whole day flew for me. I’m extremely busy at work at the moment, working on a project which is pretty rewarding. When you’re enjoying what you do, time flies, doesn’t it?

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