Michael Byrne as Joe KellerAll My Sons

Written by Arthur Miller
Directed by Gemma Bodinetz
Liverpool Playhouse (15th September – 7th October 2006)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

The Liverpool Playhouse opened its new season with this compelling production, directed by Gemma Bodinetz, by the acclaimed American playwright Arthur Miller.

First performed on stage in 1947, it still has a strong resonance with the current political and social climate.

It addresses many issues, including the American military-industrial complex, the waste of young lives in wars, rampant greed, disavowal of responsibility, falsehood, denial of the truth and the fragility of the family unit.

All My Sons is set on the front porch of a house in an unnamed town in America, "with not a cloud in the sky". The storm clouds are about to loom over the next twelve hours, as reality bites in with devastating and fatal consequences.

The drama revolves around domineering father figure Joe Keller (convincingly played by Michael Byrne), who made parts for fighter planes during the Second World War. His son Chris (Alexis Denisof) looks destined to take over the family business but he is reluctant to do so. His main priority is to marry Ann Deever (Alice Patten), who was the fiancée of his brother Larry until he was killed in the war.

But Joe's wife Kate (Dearbhla Molloy) refuses to accept that Larry is dead, despite Ann trying to convince her that he will not come back.

A further barrier preventing Ann linking up with Chris is that she is the daughter of Joe's former business partner, now imprisoned for gross negligence after their company supplied the air force with faulty machine parts, leading to the deaths of twenty one pilots. Though Joe was released from jail on appeal, a deep guilt hangs over the Keller family.

All My Sons is a thought provoking, superbly written play, exploring the shallowness of the American dream, the illusions upon which that dream is built, and in a wider context the greed and capitalism that grips many in other parts of the world.

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Comment left by Gary McCaul on 6th November, 2006 at 16:39
Says a lot about the play, but so does wikipedia, very little insight about the production.

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