Last night, I watched Angels in America Part Two: Perestroika at the cinema, as the National Theatre in London was broadcasting a live performance of it to cinemas across the UK yesterday evening. I first saw a performance of Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches in 2016 while at university, and thought it was phenomenal (you can read my thoughts on it here: https://www.hercampus.com/school/exeter/hcx-review-eutcos-angels-america). Therefore, even though yesterday’s play was over four hours long, the time went quickly, and it was a very good show. Like the performance of Millenium Approaches I watched, Perestroika ended with standing ovations.
In light of this, I thought I’d make a list, in no particular order, of my favourite plays.
Angels in America (both Part 1 and 2) – Tony Kushner
This play, in two parts, is an utterly compelling and powerful piece of drama about Americans grappling with issues including love, identity and religion during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Combining both kitchen-sink and magical realist elements, both sections of the play are well worth a watch.
Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet, in my eyes, is a timeless play that has been adapted in so many different ways. It has such a simple yet powerful story.
Abigail’s Party – Mike Leigh
This was a strong contender for my dissertation for my English degree. A suburban comedy of manners, it focuses on Beverly, who holds a drinks evening for her neighbours with her put-upon husband Lawrence. The play is a great satire of 1970s attitudes to British social class and conspicuous consumption and will make you cringe at times with the awkward moments!
Nuts in May – Mike Leigh
Another Mike Leigh play, this was devised for television, but I feel it still counts as a play, given that it was broadcast in the BBC television drama series Play for Today. I wrote about this for my dissertation and it doesn’t get old. This play focuses on exasperating tree huggers Keith and Candice-Marie who go camping to Dorset.
Our Day Out – Willy Russell
I also wrote about this play for my dissertation, and had the pleasure of interviewing Willy Russell in person about it. This play, again initially a television play, focuses on a school trip to Conway for students in the bottom set at school in inner-city Liverpool. It was later turned into a musical, but this video below provides clips from the television play. Stags and Hens, also by Willy Russell, is a great play too.
What are your favourite plays and what drama do you think I should watch? Let me know in the comments!