Although written almost 70 years ago, Arthur Miller’s first great play, All My Sons, could not be more topical. Post-war soul-searching had begun to question the whole American dream and Miller’s works were at the forefront. Kip Williams has assembled cracking cast for this STC production.
Joe Keller (John Howard) is the self-made businessman who embodies the American ‘can-do’ attitude, though his former partner is in jail for having sold faulty warplane parts. Keller’s wife Kate (Robin Nevin) has her own delusions, refusing to give up hope that her son, a pilot missing in action, will one day return. Chris (Chris Ryan), the other son, has safely returned from the war but his inner demons lie closely below the surface. He has fallen in love with Anne (Eryn Jean Norville), his brother’s fiancée, but their marriage will spell the end of his mother’s forlorn hopes.
Bert LaBonte is the neighbour, Dr. Jim Bayliss, who sees the cloud of darkness descend and the dream slowly implode. Speaking ahead of opening night, LaBonte told City Hub: “We have this dream to live in a nice home, in a nice area, where your family are all doing well, but this calls it all into question – how big a lie will you carry to make sure that you don’t lose that dream?”
It’s a question that LaBonte thinks will resonate with contemporary Australian audiences, as it brings big picture truth into the most private and personal of spaces – the family. Audiences are likely to find it uncomfortable.
“It would have been very confronting for American society at the time,” added LaBonte. “It asks, ‘How might you be personally implicated in the things that you have seen laid bare before you on stage?’” (GW)
Jun 4–Jul 9. Roslyn Packer Theatre, 22 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay. $76-$104. Tickets & info: sydneytheatre.com.au or 02 9250 1777