September 25, 2012


Photo: Kevin Berne  Cast list below


CAN YOU HEAR THIS? I’m talking about the angry emotional stage play at A.C.T. The play sweeps through the Theater like a whirlwind. ÅIDS is the problem – or at least it was a horrendous problem. Now a day -- it is under control. Therefore, more people are surviving. And thank God for that!

Yes, this play is strident and annoying. And the histrionics can be heard beyond the Theater into the Lobby. Some may be turned off by the noise. And there were moments when I almost got up and left my seat. However, I stuck it out. And as we watch gay men die in front of our eyes – we realize how important this revived play opens our hearts to a fascinating look at those sad times.

“The Normal Heart” is based on the book and play-- by Larry Kramer – who gives us a loud, but fascinating detailed powerful story.
My only objection to the play is that the screaming at each other is way over the top. A little bit of hysteria is O.K – but really – do they need to yell consistently? One man says to the other “I hear you’ve got a big mouth!” Yes, that’s for sure.

To be honest – this is not a great play. The actors save the moment. There is too much speechifying going on. It’s exhausting! However, the ending brings us to another look at this serious play.

 THE ASTOUDING ACTORS ARE A DREAM TEAM. THEY WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. HERE THEY ARE: Tom Berklund – Michael Berresse- Patrick Breen – Patrick Alparone – Jordan Baker – Nick Mennell – Matt McGrath – Bruce Altman – Sean Dugan and Jon Levenson. “Electrifying!” 


RATING: Three Glasses of Champagne!!!

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook, and he produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED))) 


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