Reviewed by Richard Lane
Director Dave Simms’ fingerprints are all over this meticulously directed, extraordinary production of Arthur Miller’s play.
Its roots lie in ancient Greek tragedy, where Everyman Joe Keller is concealing his sin. Joe of course is the precursor to Willy Lomann in Miller’s Death Of A Salesman
Somewhere in America, Joe lives with his wife Kate, and son Chris soon after WW2.Their son Larry is MIA for three years. Outwardly all is well but the truth is revealed that Joe was exonerated from manufacturing faulty plane parts causing the death of twenty-one young pilots. Joe allowed his partner Steve to take the blame and to go to prison for his crime..
The production bristles with symbolism, apple trees being the most obvious. One apple tree split asunder in the stunning opening storm scene, represents Larry’s life cut down in its prime. Another tree laden with apples surely represents Chris’s life. The stark, dead, leafless tree dominating the set reveals sunshine and darkness simultaneously. Joe’s tree.
By far the most subtle (and clever) symbol deployed by the director is that of light. Toby Peart’s lighting plot throws shadows on the faces of actors in denial of truth, warm morning light enhances the appearance of normality yet concomitantly hides guilt. The cold harsh evening light manifests their underlying shame.
Simms has assembled a stellar, experienced cast led brilliantly by Brian Knott as Joe, Julie Quick exceptionally good as Kate, Ben Brooker superb as the perplexed and suffering son Chris, and Alicia Zorkovic, wonderful as Ann.
All other members of the cast are excellent and they are, Andrea Carr (Lydia Lubey), Peter Davies (Jim Bayliss), James Edwards (George Deever), Therese Hornby(Sue Bayliss), David Wiesner(Frank Lubey) and Benjamin Maio Mackay (Bert).
This production is a tour de force for Dave Simms; his entire cast and crew; and the Rep.