Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s inaugural production, All My Sons, left audience members gasping for breath after the impressive Marshall Napier spoke his last words. The play, written by Arthur Miller, tells the tale of a profiteering father and a grieving mother within the context of World War II.
Story goes: father and businessman, Joe Keller (Napier) lived an insufferable life after he narrowly avoided losing his livelihood by shipping out a known batch of defective machine parts during the war. These parts, used in the air force, cause 21 young men to lose their lives. Keller and his business partner Steve Deever were trialed and although Keller walked away a free man, Deever remained in jail. Amongst this devastation, the eldest Keller boy, Larry, didn’t return from the war and remained missing for three years.
The Keller family live in an excruciating little American town where Joe’s wife, Kate (Toni Scanlan) has whittled away to nothing as she mourns for Larry and holds onto guilt for Joe’s actions. Chris (Andrew Henry), the youngest Keller son is an admirable character who will forever live in the shadow of his father and brother. The love of his life, Anne (Meredith Penman), the son of Joe’s ex-business partner, is a prominent war widow and Penman blew this character out of the water.
Miller wrote All My Sons after his stepmother read him a similar story from the paper one morning. First performed on Broadway in 1947, only weeks before the timely World War II peace treaty was signed, All My Sons was, and still is, a true testament to a text reflecting immediate realities onstage. Miller succeeded in dialoging a true American family and the magnificent cast, directed by Iain Sinclair, preceded the standards this play has always kept.
BY LOUISE JECKELLS