Rarely has a play been so worthy of a standing ovation. But the revival of Arthur Miller’s 1947 classic, ‘All My Sons’ deserves every bit of praise that is bestowed on it.
David Suchet and Zoe Wanamaker star as the married couple Joe and Kate Keller, whose idyllic suburban lifestyle masks a cacophony of secrets, pain and betrayal.
One son lost in battle; the other, a dreamer, lost in his own ideals. The war is over, but the scars of the conflict remain searing, and they start to fester with the return of girl next door Ann, who has switched her affections from one brother to the next.
Miller’s script, from the caustic observations of the life-weary neighbours, to the dramatic crescendo, would be gripping with any cast. But this one offers some of the finest acting around, and their subtle portrayals of a broken family make for the perfect balance of optimism and nostalgia, denial and regret.
The set is magical, a wooded wonderland with fresh cut grass creating the perfect sense of an Eden under siege from reality. Even the American accents, often so grating from a British cast, cause no unease.
The rupture of the American Dream is always a fabulous subject matter for a playwright to tackle, and along with Tennessee Williams, Miller is its grand storyteller.
It’s not hard to grasp the subtext, the still-resonant sense that strength and dominance are borne only with sacrifice, and the play remains as potent a cautionary tale in the modern world as it was in post-war America.
This is not always an easy play to watch; the occasional light humour belies a tragic tale. But uncomfortable as it may be, All My Sons will still be the best thing you see on stage for a while.
The trailer for All My SonsThe Apollo Theatre