All My Sons
Posted by xxrosannaxx on Sat, 31 Oct 2009.
8th October - 14th November 2009
Cast includes: Ian Redford, Diana Kent, Phil Cheadle, Lisa Jackson, Alasdair Craig, John Dougall, Daniele Lydon, David Fynn and Emily Houghton.
Directed by: Walter Meierjohann
From Leicester Theatre Trust comes a family drama about guilt, loss and betrayal, set to the backdrop of paranoid and fragmented post-war America. Meierjohann brings Arthur Miller's 1947 classic to life, with an outstanding cast, beautiful score and effective yet simple staging and effects doing nothing but justice to the predecessor of classics such as "The Crucible" and "Death Of A Salesman".
Miller’s dramatically intense drama sees a small yet effective cast (led by former Corrie star Ian Redford, who gives a harrowing performance as Joe Keller) drawing us in to a world of tainted post-war freedom. The play tells the story of a family torn apart by betrayal, and begs us to question the limits of loyalty, integrity, patriotism, trust, and love. For two hours we do not only observe, but become a part of a family struggling to come to terms with the loss of their son Larry, whose plane went down during the war. His brother Chris has fallen in love with Larry’s childhood sweetheart Ann, and asks her to the house in order to propose. His mother Kate however is adamant that Larry will one day return, and sees Chris and Ann’s engagement as a direct betrayal of her dead son.
Meanwhile, Joe Keller, recently released from jail for fraud in his war-parts factory (having indirectly caused the deaths of multiple pilots through the sale of faulty parts) isn’t being entirely clear with his family about what really happened, and when his business partner, who incidentally is Ann’s father, begins to stir things up from within his prison cell, Joe can no longer keep the devastating truth to himself, and in a tragic climatic sequence, we discover the truth about his actions and, the truth about Larry’s death. Unaware that we are watching a play, the performance delivered is so strong and realistic, that it bursts our bubble when the cast finally step forward and take a bow. Even a million rounds of applause are not praise enough for their professional, subtle and REAL performance.
Three-acts of sheer excellence and atmospheric beauty see us living, breathing and feeling the emotions of this war-torn family. A suitable eerie soundtrack and use of lighting accompany a literal and metaphoric transition from the sunny liberty of daytime to the suspicious vulnerability of dusk, with the dramatic build up climaxing in a gorgeous torrent of rain, as the character's masks and alter-egos are washed away. Once their exteriors have been stripped back, we can see them for who they truly are.
A simply exquisite piece of drama, executedly brilliantly and staged by a quite obviously passionate team, "All My Sons" is certainly one that I'd recommend. What begins as a seemingly innocent family drama is slowly and shockingly transformed into a greek-style tragedy, laced with the desperation and fear of paranoid post-war America.
All My Sons is at Curve, Rutland Street, Leicester, 0116 2423595. Until November 14.See Curve's website.
Many thanks to Lucy Pickering. All images courtesy of Keith Pattison.
By Rosanna Pound-Woods