The Normal Heart

Congratulations to the cast of the College’s second enrichment show of the year – ‘The Normal Heart’ by Larry Kramer.

Aimed at allowing the students a chance to perform more serious material than a whole family Christmas Show allows, this production certainly did that. It is a two and a half hour deeply serious political drama set in New York in the early 1980s as the AIDS virus begins to decimate the gay community. The cast rehearsed for 12 hours a week from January, culminating in three sold out performances at the Henley Town Hall at the end of March.

The Henley Standard commented:

‘’The energetic cast bravely demonstrated their skills in these intimate surroundings. A two-sided audience flanked an open set consisting of a desk of officialdom at one end and a hospital gurney at the other, both sandwiching a sofa bed in the middle.

Not only were New York accents sometimes impeccably honed, but both Metaxas and Burton-Harris as Ned and Felix demonstrated a gravitas and emotional range belying their age.

After the two enter into a relationship, Metaxas’s fiery impetuousness counters Burton-Harris’s calm resignation, as the latter’s downfall from illness begins to take hold.

Josh Shortland brilliantly captured the maturity and reasoned judgement of group president Bruce, while Kevin Mesiti let forth a convincing torrent of rage at his brother during one of several heated exchanges at his law firm desk.

Oscar Hogg-Gomez’s performance as loyal Hispanic group member Mickey was also both sharply focused and driven.

The Normal Heart is a challenging work even for a seasoned professional company, but that a teenage acting troupe can keep an audience of fellow students, parents and the general public riveted for the best part of two and a half hours, is a fact of which every member of the cast and crew should be justifiably proud.’’