It’s been six years since Elegies For Angels, Punks And Raging Queens was first staged in Sydney, a series of musical and poetic monologues commemorating and celebrating lives affected by HIV/AIDS. For director Tony Knight (pictured), the one-night performance offers a chance to grant repeated requests for a revival and to put on a show about AIDS that is determinedly upbeat.

With Elegies it needs to be stressed that this is a great piece of theatre that laughs in the face of death. It’s 90 minutes straight through and it’s a lot of fun, Knight told the Star. Knight is head of acting at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), with the show to be staged at NIDA’s Parade Theatre.

Elegies has also evolved alongside improved changes in the treatment of HIV, with extra pieces about the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS and new drug regimes. About half the original cast are returning for the revival, with new stars that back in 1996 we might never have imagined would become thespians.

Ian Roberts is strutting his stuff, half naked -“ he’s actually playing Patient Zero, says Knight, who adds that the evening is also a rare chance to see 30 actors in one production.

Roberts is joined by, among others, Nick Enright, Tony Phelan, Felix Williamson, Paula Arundel, Gary Scales, Toni Scanlan and Andrew McFarlane. Knight is thrilled to be involved in the Gay Games, an event for which he is unreservedly enthusiastic.

I’m not a person who subscribes to the doom and gloom -¦ I think it’s going to be a wonderful success and we just all have to get behind it.

Elegies is being presented at the Parade Theatre at NIDA, Kensington, on Sunday 5 November at 5pm. Phone 9266 4020 or visit www.sydney2002. org.au for bookings. The evening will raise funds for Oz Showbiz Cares -“ Equity Fights AIDS.

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