WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE? Old Vic RUNTIME: 2 hours 35 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)
WHEN? 18/4, opens 23/4 runs to 8/6/19
We’re at a pre-show Q&A with director Jeremy Herrin and he talks about the 1 in 10 theatre visits which are transcendental – and this is definitely one of those.
- Read on for reasons including how double Oscar winner Sally Field captivates in her London theatre debut
All My Sons is a 1947 play by Arthur Miller that was written as a final attempt at success after his 1st play The Man Who Had All The Luck closed after only 4 performances on Broadway.
It is based on a true story: earlier in the 40s the Wright Aeronautical Corporation had conspired with army inspection officers to approve defective aircraft engines destined for military use.
All My Sons takes place on a Sunday morning in the garden outside the Midwestern home of the Keller family where we meet Joe (Bill Pullman, who we’ve never been more enthused by than here) who was investigated but cleared while his business partner Steve was jailed for selling cracked cylinder heads to the Air Force, causing the deaths of 21 pilots in plane crashes.
Sally Field (who won Oscars for Norma Rae and Places in the Heart) plays his wife Kate and she’s absolutely mesmerising. If we see a better performance at a theatre in the next 12 months, we’d be overjoyed. When she explains that she can’t accept that her missing pilot son Larry is dead because doing so would acknowledge her husband’s complicity, it’s difficult to imagine anyone else being more convincing.
Elsewhere Larry’s former sweetheart Ann (an understated Jenna Coleman) visits his brother Chris (Colin Morgan, crippled by survivor’s guilt and adopting an unusual facial gurn) who plans to propose.
Ann’s brother George (an impressive Oliver Johnstone) arrives and the scene is set for secrets to be revealed on a day that the family will never forget.
Miller’s genius is to, in the words of Old Vic Artistic Director Matthew Warchus, refract ‘huge socio-political themes through vividly detailed personal tragedies so that a family drama can seem deeply about the individuals concerned and deeply about society as a whole at one and the same time’.
Both Pullman and Field appear to act so effortlessly, the mark of truly great performers, that it’s easy to get lost within the drama.
Herrin’s production is 1 of the finest we’ve seen at this venue and Field’s debut in London is 1 not to be missed. This All My Sons perfectly tees up the Young Vic’s take on Miller classic Death Of A Salesman which opens across The Cut next month.