Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches

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In the Hypocrites' staging of Tony Kushner's first play in a diptych, director Sean Graney creates nearly every set piece using four big, clunky coffins--which his actors must lug through scene changes. While a sense of lurking death is what gives this seminal AIDS drama its terrifying urgency, plunked front and center it becomes overkill. It's a choice symptomatic of the problems in this uneven production. Too often, especially during the first act, the actors artificially inflate their characters' emotions. But in later scenes they stop emoting and the ethical, psychological, sexual, and political complexities of Kushner's shattered, shattering world become almost engrossing. If the company stays that course, Kushner's second half, Perestroika, could be dazzling. Through 5/6: see chicagoreader.com for complete schedule. Through 4/2: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM, Bailiwick Repertory, Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-883-1090, $25.

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