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All My Sons

Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Three stars


If war
is a curse, pity the official opening night of Rapture Theatre's new touring
revival of Arthur Miller's post World War Two dissection of the business of bad
government. Not only was actor Paul Shelley temporarily indisposed from playing
the play's pivotal character, Joe Keller, requiring company member David
Tarkenter to step into the breach, but midway through Act Two, actress Trudie
Goodwin, leading a crucial scene as Joe's self-deluding spouse, Kate, passed
out, causing the action to be halted for several minutes before the curtain
raised once more.

While both unfortunate incidents made for an understandably
uneven evening, they also lent a certain edge to proceedings, so that by the
time we get to a funereally played last act, the tension is palpable to
all.

Prior to that, things had started off in a wonderfully sunny American
suburbia, where Joe and Kate's forced niceties barely hide how Kate pines for
her pilot son, who went missing in action three years before. With surviving
offspring Chris hitting on Larry’s former girl Annie, daughter of Joe's former
business partner, Steve, who took the rap for offloading some dodgy airplane
parts while Joe went free.

Miller's timebomb of a play put families at war in
a way that saw them caught in the crossfire of warped capitalism and downright
lies that the American Dream was built on. Plus ca change in Emans' brooding
production, in which Tarkenter and Goodwin both prove themselves heroic in a
timely revival that can't help but point up how the real war criminals get away
with mass murder while the little guy becomes the people's patsy.

The Herald, September 4th 2015
End

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