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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > May 2017 > The time of ANGELS

The time of ANGELS

In a world exclusive, Gay Times talks politics, coming out and celebrity threesomes with Andrew Garfield and…Russell Tovey, the stars of the mostanticipated piece of theatre in years, Angels in America.

It’s a spring Saturday in swinging London. Sunlight pours into the dishevelled warehouse that’s serving as our location for today’s photoshoot. We’re ready for a nice relaxed chat with Andrew Garfield and Russell Tovey about their upcoming roles in the National Theatre’s revival of Angels in America…But we can already see that we’re going to have a problem. It’s clear that there’s only going to be one top dog today, and he’s not going to let anyone else get a look-in. Fortunately for us, the ego belongs to Russell’s three-year-old French Bulldog, Rocky, rather than either of our interview subjects for the day. Toby the Gay Times pug is, however, distinctly less than impressed with the competition on set.

As we shoot our world exclusive cover with the actors, it’s obvious that neither is hung up on ego. Despite appearing in truly huge productions – Andrew most notably in The Amazing Spider-Man and Hacksaw Ridge, Russell in HBO’s Looking and The History Boys – both actors are at ease on set, chatting and joking between takes with each other. It’s clear that the chemistry both display on screen is just as prevalent in real life too.

It’s been 25 years since the National Theatre first staged Angels in America, and it would be impossible to say that the play was no longer as relevant, or important, as when it was first performed. Where the play has Ronald Reagan in power, enforcing an anti-gay agenda which directly or indirectly led to the deaths of countless gay men in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, it doesn’t take a huge leap to recognise similarities with the current incumbent of the White House. We’re keen to understand how much the current political climate influenced the timing for this revival…

Russell: We were locked into this in January of last year – before the political chaos in the USA. But it’s come at a time that really reflects when it was written; it was a Reaganite period, there was no funding for AIDS, which was being ignored politically, there was money being taken out of this and that… With the presidency now, it feels like we’re going through a time that’s comparable.

Andrew: For me it’s been very, very weird because of what’s going on in the world – not just in the United States, but also the UK with Brexit – and the rise of a more free, open and expressive bigot population; there’s a homophobic, racist group that has been given a voice by people like Nigel Farage, Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen. I think we’d all feel strange if we weren’t participating in something, as storytellers, that doesn’t somehow fight and resist that last dinosaur cry of a dying breed of narrow-mindedness and fear-based living. I’m very relieved that we’re doing this play now, actually. It’s medicine for the time we are in.

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It’s been 25 years since the National Theatre first staged Angels in America - the most important play to come out of the 20th century. In our world-exclusive interview and shoot with the cast of Angels in America, debuting at the National Theatre this July, we discuss the political and cultural parallels between then and now, the evergreen relevance of Angels in America and the importance of coming out and living with pride. Elsewhere, TOWIE’s Charlie King, who is also our resident fitness guru, gets you festival ready with a focus on upper body workouts, and James Haskell, former Gay Times cover star and international rugby icon, takes us through the new fitness craze, F45. Also, gay sex in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city; Steps take us through their 'gay-tastic' new album; homophobia in football; men who make money from men they barely know; Lucie Jones sticks her hand in our sweetie jar; Romy and Michele turns 20; Megan Mullaly on Karen Walker; and Todrick Hall on Broadway. The issue is packed - as usual - with opinion, travel, style and fitness.
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