The Normal Heart, National Theatre, November 5th 2021

Halfway through The Normal Heart I thought ‘why is it being revived’ and ‘why here’? The COVID parallel is too blunt and doesn’t hold up. The American politics are distinct. The play is one of ideas, often crude, and activism. But it all comes alive in the second half. It succeeds in capturing the structure of feeling of the moment, the panic, the fear, the suffering, the lack of knowledge, the argument of whether not to have sex or to have as much as possible in order to build up immunity; how it all seemed so unfair and so incomprehensible. How activism and alliances found a way, but too late for far too many. It put me in that moment and reminded me of all those I loved and lost then and it got me in the end, and the audience too: the actors were rewarded with an enthusiastic standing ovation and I with an answer to my initial questions

José Arroyo

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