As is well-known, Miller much admired Ibsen and his themes of the past being uncovered and disturbing the uneasy present, his idea that the truth must be told, whatever the consequences, that there comes a day when comforting illusions must be shattered and polite evasions cease. He also uses some of Ibsen’s methods, most notably the patient revealing, in a single cataclysmic day, of an intriguing, even profound situation, exploring it and leading to its tragic culmination.
For the most part, this Melbourne Theatre Company production is clear and straightforward, and casting, direction, performances, design, accents, music are uniformly competent. Perhaps merely competent. John Stanton brings authority and experience to the role of Joe Keller, but his performance seems fairly relaxed for a man exposed by his own son as a liar and murderer, then driven to suicide. Janet Andrewartha fares better as his wife Kate, on the other hand, and Matthew Dyktynski gives their son Chris real fire and indignation. Other roles are played with precision and skill.
The program notes give great emphasis to the play’s relevance in this time of complicity and collusion by US business in the profits of the Iraq War, and this is certainly worth saying. However this connection doesn’t really emerge forcefully from the production itself, which is a little too faithful to its origins, too uninvolving, to be declared a complete success.
Melbourne Theatre Company presents
All My Sons
By Arthur Miller
Venue: the Arts Centre Playhouse
Previews: from 24 February
Dates: 28 February - 31 March 2007
Performance Schedule: Mon & Tue 6.30pm (26 & 27 Feb 8pm), Wed 1pm & 8pm (no mat 28 Feb), Thu & Fri 8pm, Sat 4pm & 8.30pm (24 Feb 2pm & 8pm)
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 136 166 or www.mtc.com.au