A superbly acted and incredibly fascinating story, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons was written in post WWII America, in a community buoyed by the money making of war. This is a meaty drama about a family whose patriarch has not paid for a crime that he committed but instead has lived a life of deceit which has infected all family relations, the neighbours and other townsfolk who suspect what really occurred.
Joe Keller (Marshall Napier), a successful American businessman made his fortune on the back of the war efforts and is now able to run a more sanitised business. His wife Kate (Toni Scanlan), has known the truth about her husband’s activities and has kept up appearances all these years. During the war, due to the pressures of needing to keep up the arms supply, Joe Keller required his former business partner and colleague to patch over defective armaments which were then used in service and which caused the death of 21 American soldiers. Joe never took the blame but he let his former business partner be found guilty and sent to prison. Son Chris (Andrew) has survived the war (unlike his older brother Larry, for whom his mother grieves but refuses to believe has died in the war). Chris is the idealistic son, who believes that his father has been exonerated. He is in love with Larry’s girlfriend Anne (Meredith Penman), the dutiful daughter of the wronged business partner of Joe Keller. The lies and deceit unravel and the truth is finally revealed, at a huge cost.
Directed by Iain Sinclair (who also takes the role of Jim Bayliss, the hard working doctor next door) this is a fantastic and exciting debut play for the Eternity Playhouse. Really worth seeing.
On now till 1 December, Eternity Playhouse, Burton Street, Darlinghurst.