– by Chantelle Pitt
How far would you go to keep a secret? Would you confess or keep it under wraps for 3 years?
All My Sons was written by Arthur Miller in 1945 and set in post WWII America. The plot centers around the Keller family who are caught in a web of secrets that are about to be revealed. Joe Keller owns a factory that produces engine heads during the war. A faulty batch of engines kills 21 pilots and tensions boil as the 3rd anniversary of son Larry’s disappearance rolls around. Will the sudden appearance of Larry’s old fiancée change anything?
This wonderful rendition is performed by the Western Australian Academy for Performing Arts’ 3rd year acting students and directed by Melbourne-based director, Tom Healey. The entire cast works well to portray the issues of death, betrayal, and lies throughout the production. Each cast member adapts to his or her role with such ease that it’s easy to fall under the spell of the story and forget that it’s a performance. Although the play was set on a thrust stage (which is kind of like a fashion catwalk or runway) at least one character had their face visible to me. I was still involved in the action on stage and I could still connect with the characters. Given this is a difficult feat to achieve due to the stage layout, I believe this is a clear example of the excellent directing from Healey. While this isn’t something that the average patron might notice, I like to keep my eye out for small things that make the performance great.
This play was truly something to behold; from wondrous use of lights to subtly change the atmosphere of each scene to the raw emotions portrayed by some of the characters onstage. Every individual involved in this production had their work cut out for them to bring this classic story to life with such success. But notable mentions have to be given to the two main actors, Andrew Creer (Joe Keller) and Brittany Morel (Kate Keller) who performed each line with passion and committed themselves to every word. One characterisation problem that I encountered was specific to Bevan Pfeiffer (Chris Keller), as I felt he relied too much on his hands for his performance. I also noted that as his character became outraged, his articulation disappeared and he sounded more like a warbling cartoon character than an outraged man.
If I told you to see this show, you should. And I am telling you. I highly recommend you see All My Sons at the Roundhouse Theatre, WAAPA.
Warning: Key themes in this production may not be suitable for patrons under 15 years old.
All My Sons runs until May 7th at the Roundhouse Theatre, WAAPA. Information can be found on WAAPA’s website.
Images courtesy of Jon Green.