Angels unlikely to tread again?


THE disappointment in the National Theatre's as yet not officially announced line up for the first few months of the year is that it does not include the second instalment in Tony Kushner's Angels in America sequence, Perestroika. Nor is the play likely to be staged at the Abbey this year. This is due, says the Abbey's director of PR and marketing, Dorothea Melvin, to the difficulty in securing many members of the cast who played in part one, Millennium Approaches, last year. Director Patrick Mason had envisaged staging the two parts back to back at some point and this would also involve a lot of re rehearsal for Millennium Approaches, if many cast changes were made.

Melvin is not certain that the show would go up at all: "Certainly Patrick Mason is very committed to it," she said. "Whether it will happen or not . . ."

Millennium Approaches was one of the most ambitious, exciting, challenging shows the Abbey has done for years and was critically acclaimed. But it was not greeted with the packed, houses which it had attracted in the US, perhaps because the centrality of the gay and AIDS theme put people off. If ever there was a show which proved that quality does not equal bums on seats, this was it, however.

This disappointment apart, there is much of interest among the shows coming up in the next couple of months. Patrick Mason's production of Shakespeare's Macbeth (from January 30th) is a tantalising prospect. Des McAleer plays Macbeth and Andrea Irvine, who played Harper in Angels in America, plays Lady Macbeth.

The Invisible Mending Company by Philip Davison, which goes up at the Peacock on February 7th, is this novelist and film writer's first produced play for the stage. It tells the story of a family discovering a previously unheard of half sister and the surprising consequences. The cast includes the excellent Barry Barnes as well as Vinnie McCabe and Eanna MacLiam.

Brendan Behan's The Hostage, directed by Brian Brady, goes up in early March, as does a new production of Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author, an early post modernist deconstruction of narrative.

In late February or early March the National Theatre Society takes the innovative step of touring Irish language theatre to the Gaeltacht with Mairtin O Cadhain's classic Cre na Cille.