Theatre Review: Death of a Salesman

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Presented by Therry Dramatic Society
Reviewed 19 Aug 2016

Arthur Miller was without doubt one of the major writers of the 20th Century and amongst his best plays Death of a Salesman stands out as one of the best. This superbly crafted play has been performed countless times all over the world and it is not an easy piece to do justice to. Therry should be grateful that they put this production in the experienced hands of Sue Wylie; she has done a magnificent job.

David Grybowski plays the complex role of Willy Loman and inhabits the character so well he becomes this broken man dealing with his many demons. Never does he overplay and his disorientation and loss are very real. As his wife, Linda, Cate Rogers provides the steadying influence, the glue that holds the family together. A great contrast to Willy.

DeathWilly’s two sons, Biff (Adam Tuominen) and Happy (Mark Healy) are the focus of his discontent and the loss of his American Dream. Healy plays the successful but shallow philanderer Happy with casual ease, managing the changes from the young to the adult without confusion: a strong performance. However it is Tuominen who impresses as the tormented Biff who loves his father but constantly wars with him.

As the reasons for the rift are revealed and the layers peeled back, the players remain strong and convincing. Unlike previous versions I have seen, the flashbacks were easy to follow, and the emotion clear and raw.

The entire cast for this production was strong, Greg Janzow as the presence of Willy’s absent brother, Tom Carney as the faithful friend always there to support, Thorin Cupit as the sympathetic but unbending boss who has to fire Willy; all are good.

Costumes by Gillian Cordell and Ian Rigney help to set the scene. Nick Spottiswoode’s set is very evocative and helps to convey the claustrophobic and dismal environment that this pleasant home has become, aided by Richard Parkhill’s lighting.

This fine performance deserves full houses every night; you will not see as good a production of this play for a very long time.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue: Arts Theatre, Angus St
Season:18 – 27 Aug 2016
Duration: 2hr 20mins
Tickets: Adult $27, Conc $22, Child 12
Bookings: 8410 5515 or www.trybooking.com/buy-tickets/

 

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