This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Tribune's Ellen Fagg Weist checked out "Perestroika" at Salt Lake Acting Company. Here's her review:
There's gutsy theatrical force in Salt Lake Acting Company's staged reading of "Perestroika," the second part of Tony Kushner's sprawling "Angels in America," which opened Thursday night and plays through Sunday, Nov. 7.
In many ways, thanks to the energy of the well-honed ensemble, this more-than-a-reading, less than-a-full-production feels even fresher than last month's successful run of "Millennium Approaches." The entire cast returns, scripts in hand, mostly in costume, but instead of merely reading their lines, they're immersed in their characters and borrow much of the blocking of the earlier production.
At last night's reading, the cast was aided by the quick laughter of an audience just as well-versed in the rich Mormon cultural material that proved such a mother lode for Kushner. Lucas Bybee as Pryor remains the cast's anchor, in the way the actor finds the dimensionality in his character's ever-shifting moods of sarcasm and angst. Mostly off-book, Alexis Baigue handles Louis' hyper-conscious monologues even better than in Part 1. In the reading, Baigue claims his character, in contrast to "Millennium" where he often seemed to be consciously channeling the phrasing of a young Woody Allen.
Making the most of the material is Colleen Baum's heart-felt Hannah Pitt, the tough-minded Mormon mother coming to terms with her son's shattered marriage and homosexuality. Baum's quicksilver expressions and comic timing are well-known to SLAC audiences, but here she deepens and enriches the Mormon material at every turn. Thanks to Baum, Hannah's expression of faith: "An angel is a belief, with wings, and arms that can carry you. It's not to be afraid of, and if it can't hold you up, seek for something new" plays with the force of fresh revelation, as relevant when the plays were birthed in the 1990s as it is today.
This reading concluding SLAC's revival of the epic is well-worth your time. Tickets, $16, $12 for subscribers, at 801-363-7522 or SLAC's website. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.