The power and glory of Miller

al my sons cast

All my sons

Malvern Theatre

****

THIScaptivating play by Arthur Miller rightly has a string of awards to its name. It is an open account of war profiteering, the idealism of youth and how far you can stretch the bond between a father and son before it breaks.

This play still feels fresh despite being written in the shadow of the Second World War in 1947, but that's down to the detailed characterisations and vivid story-telling by one of the world's finest modern-day writers.

Doing the play worthy justice this time around is the Talawa Theatre Company - the UK's leading Black-led theatre company, which was set up in response to the lack of creative opportunities for theatre-makers from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds in the 1980s.

It's a strong cast led by West End stalwart Ray Shell and TV regular Doña Croll (Ice Cream Girls and Casualty) as the parents of the Keller family, who are still grieving the loss of their eldest son, who has been lost in action during the war. 

While strong-willed Mrs Keller clings on to hope that her son is still alive, her other son wants to move on with his life. Then there is the sudden visit of their missing son's girlfriend to add another dimension to the mix.

Despite the happy, rose-tinted start of the story, it quickly emerges that everyone has a secret to hide, whether it's relationships, past regrets or something much deadlier.

Of the younger members of the cast, Kemi Bo-Jacobs as the girlfriend Ann Deever and Leemore Marrett Jr as honest, idealistic son Chris are both extremely watchable and impressive on stage. It's worth keeping an eye out for those two as Talawa Theatre Company has a history of nurturing faces of the future.

In fact, the chemistry and rapport between all the cast is a bonus to this production.

Supported by Arts Council England, this tour coincides with the centenary year of playwright Miller’s birth and is a fine show under the directorship of Michael Buffongwill.

However, Malvern is the last stop of the tour, so try and catch this while you can. To 25-04-15

Alison Brinkworth

21-04-15

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