All My Sons review at Apollo London
This dynamic staging by Howard Davies is effectively a recast revival of his acclaimed millennial production at the National which turned Miller’s 1947 melodrama with its nods to Ibsen, into an intensely watchable domestic Greek tragedy.
Good to rediscover William Dudley’s magnificent set, the stage grassed with actual living turf backed by a towering clapboard house and easy entry points either side, which give the piece its sense of neighbourly community.
David Suchet, tough and companionable, is inspired casting as Joe Keller, the bluff, joshing businessman whose guilty wartime secret was to have delivered faulty engine components to the US Air Force, resulting in the deaths of many young pilots, while shifting the blame on to his business partner.
Each time one sees Zoe Wanamaker on stage she gains an extra dimension. Here she plays Joe’s wife Kate as a striking matriarch refusing to believe that her older son Larry died in the war. A woman in denial perhaps, but between her moments of grief and desolation she still invests the character with warmth, even a sense of flirtatious gaiety as an unwelcome visitor threatens the family security.
Over the course of a day and night the secrets begin to unravel as younger son Chris, played with cool diffidence by Stephen Campbell Moore, embarks on plans to marry his dead brother’s fiancee Ann, given a performance of plucky strength by Jemima Rooper.
Her father took the rap for Joe’s misdeeds, now her brother George is out for revenge – the two becoming agents of nemesis with the sudden (and unlikely) revelation of a three-year old letter from Larry.
But despite Miller’s reliance on this plot trick and a terminal pistol shot off stage, Davies’ gripping, strongly cast revival should keep the Apollo’s box office busy throughout the summer months.
Apollo, London, May 19-September 11
- Arthur Miller
- Howard Davies
- Sonia Friedman Productions, Stanhope Productions, Spark Productions
- Cast includes
- David Suchet, Zoe Wanamaker, Stephen Campbell Moore, Jemima Rooper
- Running time
- 2hrs 25mins