The Man Who Had All the Luck
If fortune favours the brave, then End of Moving Walkway’s revival of The Man Who Had All the Luck strikes gold in this rousing rendition of Arthur Miller’s 1944 play.
The story of midwestern car mechanic David Beeves (Jamie Chandler), blessed by providence while those around him struggle to make ends meet, has its fair share of problems. It’s flabby, a touch too long and beset by a tendency to overstate its themes.
But it is also a fascinating document – a play that anticipates many of the concerns Miller would return to in later work. Director Paul Lichtenstern’s centenary-themed production treats the play as such and restores it to its rightful place as an imperfect, yet occasionally virtuosic, early-masterpiece.
Despite the confined space of The King’s Head, designers Claire Winfield and Tom Mowat bring dynamism and texture to proceedings. While the choice of thrust staging feels decidedly reminiscent of Jan Versweyveld’s minimalist approach in A View From The Bridge (Young Vic), Mowat’s lighting weaves a subtly shifting atmosphere of intimacy and dread in its balance of cold tones and soft hues.
In spite of some occasional pacing issues – most noticeably during the crucial, heated confrontation between David’s wife Hester (Chloe Walshe) and his business-partner Gus (Alex Warner) – the cast demonstrate verve through snappy dialogue, vivid performances and confident delivery.
As well as Chandler’s subtly affecting portrayal of ‘lucky-man’ David, Keith Hill delivers a particularly accomplished performance as his dithering father, Pat – a tragic-comic precursor to Miller’s very own Willy Loman.