Thursday, April 02, 2015

'Death of a Salesman' by Arthur Miller

2 April 2015

This week we were at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon to see Greg Doran's new production of 'Death of a Salesman' by Arthur Miller. It was very interesting to compare this with the Young Vic production of 'A View From The Bridge', though they are very different plays. Anthony Sher was stunning as Willy Loman, nervously cheerful and talkative in complete contrast to the dark, brooding silence of Mark Strong's Eddie Carbone. Sher is a very physical actor and his subtle transformation from the unsteady, ageing Loman to his younger self in the flashback sequences, while managing to remind you that this is the older man re-enacting remembered events rather than the events themselves, was a masterclass. There were moments during the play when Sher's portrayal of the disintegration of Willy Loman's false bravado was so discomfiting I found myself physically squirming in my seat. Harriet Walter gave Loman's wife Linda a tragic grace and it was fascinating to see Anthony Sher and Alex Hassell, who I last saw playing Falstaff and Prince Hal in Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 (reviewed here in April and May 2014) as Willy Loman and his son Biff – two similarly strained 'father-son' relationships. A five-star production of a great play.

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