ALL MY SONS: Miller, Nottingham Playhouse till 21st October


ALL MY SONS: Arthur Miller.

Nottingham Playhouse.
Runs: 2h 30m: one interval: till 21st October.
Performance times 7.30pm (matinées 2.30pm Sat 14th and 1.30pm Thurs 19th).
Audio Described Performances Sat 14th 2.30pm and Thurs 19th: Captioned Performance Weds 18th: Signed Performance Weds 18th.
Review: Alan Geary: 10th October 2017.

A fine production of a great American classic.
The owner of a small Ohio engineering firm is living with a guilty half-secret – half-secret because most of the neighbourhood are in on it. Seems that he and his business partner were in trouble during the recent war – this is 1947 – for turning out faulty components for fighter planes. During the course of one summer’s day the whole truth is revealed, with disastrous consequences for him and his family.

Underlying the realism, All My Sons, Arthur Miller’s first success, is in thematic and structural terms a Greek tragedy. It’s the final act of a drama with its origins in the past; and it involves the fall of a king, with, at the end, the promise of a new and better order to follow.

A splendid set gives more than a hint of the sort of play this is going to be. A stereotypical middle-class American house is centre-stage, white-painted and complete with the usual front porch – all well and good. But at its side is an apple tree, storm-blown out of the ground.

As flawed protagonist Joe Keller, Sean Chapman is terrific. He total convinces as an unsophisticated and under-educated self-made man. But his pugnacious turns of phrase betray hints of unease and insecurity, which become increasingly more apparent as the play proceeds.

Cary Crankson, tall and rangy, is perfectly cast as son Chris. A realist, who’s deliberately suppressed the awful truth, he’s struggling to reconcile conflicting duties to those he loves, including sweetheart Ann (Eva-Jane Willis in a fine performance). Kate Keller, a matriarch striving to hold the family together, but unable to accept the finality of a bereavement, is also beautifully played by Caroline Loncq.

The play is a classic, partly because its message is of universal and unmistakable relevance. The individual has clear moral obligations to his family, for sure. But these obligations extend to the wider community, to the world at large. No need therefore for Director Fiona Buffini to cite, as she does in the programme, Trump’s election victory as a spur for coming up with this outstanding production.

Joe Keller: Sean Chapman.
Chris Keller: Cary Crankson.
Dr Jim Bayliss: Kammy Darweish.
Lydia Lubey: Sasha Frost.
George Deever: Ben Lee.
Kate Keller: Caroline Loncq.
Frank Lubey: Patrick Osborne.
Sue Bayliss: Shauna Shim.
Ann Deever: Eva-Jane Willis.
Bert: Gus Davies/Gianluca Gauci/Felix Findley.

Director: Fiona Buffini.
Designer: Dorrie Scott.
Lighting Designer: Ian Scott.
Sound Designer/Composer: Matthew Bugg.
Fight Director: Philip d’Orléans.

2017-10-17 10:07:58

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