Is it a director that makes a story great or is it a great story that makes a director? While the jury remains out on that contentious debate, the Soulpepper Theatre Company remount of summer 2013’s smash hit Angels in America may be evidence that change is undoubtably in our midst.
The provocative, witty, and emotionally charged Pulitzer-Prize winning story, performed in repertory, is about as perfect as theatre can get. It’s almost as if Albert Schultz has the gift to see into the future when it comes to honing in on the changing tastes of audiences.
Part I – Millennium Approaches, features an abandoned Prior Walter (Damien Atkins ) living with AIDS in the 1980s when an epidemic begins to paralyze a nation. He’s visited by an Angel (Raquel Duffy) after his lover, Louis (Gregory Prest). vanishes due to his inability to confront death.
A different storyscape takes shape in Part II – Perestroika when Joe (Mike Ross), a conservative Mormon strays from his marriage to Harper (Michelle Monteith) with her reliance on Valium taking her to some far and distant places of the mind.
The health of lawyer Roy Cohn (Diego Matamoros) is also in a downward spiral with an old nemesis, Hannah (Nancy Palk), haunting him over the sins of his past.
Powerful, poignant, and purposeful, Angels in America may be the most important contemporary slice of heaven to descend upon Toronto this summer.