REVIEW: The Normal Heart at The Spring Arts Centre in Havant

The Normal Heart by HumDrum.
Picture shows Mikey Palmer as Ned and Michael Gondelle as Felix

The Normal Heart by HumDrum. Picture shows Mikey Palmer as Ned and Michael Gondelle as Felix

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It is more than 30 years since the AIDS virus was identified and much has happened since, not only in its treatment but also in how much society is moving towards acknowledging a gay man’s right to live on ‘normal’ terms with everyone else.

All of that serves only to validate this revival of Larry Kramer’s 1985 indictment of just how long it took us to face the facts of the disease and what it was doing to a sector of humanity all too readily shunned and reviled.

Ned Weeks, Kramer himself in thin disguise, rails against the bigotry of the New York authorities who refuse to accept that something catastrophic is happening.

Mikey Palmer gives a finely controlled performance as Ned, building on his initial anger towards passionately felt despair as the crisis comes closer to his personal life.

Michael Gondelle perfectly grounds Palmer’s performance in his subtle characterisation of the changing fortunes of Ned’s lover, Felix.

Caz Gilmore, as the doctor who sees the epidemic coming, skilfully underplays the dispassion needed to be effective while clearly registering the emotional cost of doing that every day. Peter Colley and Sean Fisher also build carefully towards their devastating moments of emotional release. Sam Sampson’s production is sadly underlit but cleverly staged. Go and see it. You will be impressed.

Until Saturday.

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