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The Last Yankee

“Meticulously staged revival”
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On first impressions, this lesser-known Arthur Miller play from 1993 bears all the hallmarks of the dramatist’s greatest works. Centring on two men visiting their wives in a New England psychiatric hospital, it presents a quartet of everyday people suffering the consequences of life not turning out quite as planned and thrums with quiet rage over America’s materialistic obsessions.

But it is a quieter, more reflective piece, lacking the dramatic bells and whistles of Miller’s earlier, angrier plays. As such, this subtly staged, stripped back Octagon-supported University of Bolton production, presented in Bolton Library’s temporarily adapted lecture room, suits it perfectly.

Played out on Ciaran Bagnall’s simple but effective set, and with lighting and sound cues kept to a minimum, the focus is instead kept on characters who love each other but are constantly walking the tightrope of being fearful of saying the wrong thing.

Director David Thacker knows his way around an Arthur Miller, having collaborated with the dramatist over a 10-year period at the Young Vic, including directing this play’s British premiere. His precisely executed, fuss-free direction shows off Miller’s skill with the ebb and flow of seemingly innocuous conversation to a tee.

This minimalist approach also allows the cast to shine, with Juliet Aubrey standing out with an emotionally raw, seductively skittish performance as Patricia, who can’t hide her disappointment over her husband’s lack of ambition. Her exchanges with David Ricardo-Pearce as the beleaguered Leroy capture the push and pull of conflicted emotions that comes from dealing with a loved one in mental distress.

Free tickets scheme for D/deaf audiences over 50 launched by Bolton’s Octagon


Related to this Review

Free tickets scheme for D/deaf audiences over 50 launched by Bolton’s OctagonFree tickets scheme for D/deaf audiences over 50 launched by Bolton’s Octagon

Production Details
Production nameThe Last Yankee
VenueBolton Library Lecture Theatre
LocationBolton
StartsFebruary 28, 2019
EndsMarch 16, 2019
Running time2hrs 5mins
AuthorArthur Miller
ComposerAdrian Johnston
DirectorDavid Thacker
Movement directorLesley Hutchison
Set designerCiaran Bagnall
Costume designerMary Horan
Lighting designerCiaran Bagnall
CastAnnie Tyson, David Ricardo-Pearce, Juliet Aubrey, Olivia Needham, Patrick Poletti
TechnicalAmy Chandler, Jacob Mason-Dixon, Kamini Patel
ProducerUniversity Of Bolton
VerdictMeticulously staged revival lacks killer moments but conveys every nuance of Miller’s writing
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Chris Bartlett

Chris Bartlett

Chris Bartlett

Chris Bartlett

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