Monday, 5 October 2015

The Last Yankee

Summerhall, Edinburgh
Four stars


Disappointment pulses throughout every second of Arthur Miller's late
period 1993 play, revived here by Rapture Theatre as the second part of the
company's 100 Years of Miller celebrations following their large scale tour of
All My Sons last month. It's there on the face of Leroy Hamilton, the wilfully
underachieving descendent of one of America's founding fathers, who sits in the
waiting room of the state mental hospital where his wife Patricia is spending a
third period in an attempt to keep her depression at bay. It's there too in the
face of John Frick, who may have embraced the American Dream that Hamilton
rejected, but whose own wife Karen is in the same hospital. Most of all,
however, it is Patricia's soul itself that is so fatefully marked by failed
expectations as she attempts to take control of her life once more.

It's key to Miller's chamber piece that we see how men are prior to the doors opening on
Patricia and Karen's world, and director Michael Emans has cast things
beautifully. David Tarkenter's banjo playing Leroy is an insular, mono-syllabic
sociopath in stark counterpoint to Stewart Porter's bluff Frick, the epitome of
a blue-collar capitalist success story. It is Jane McCarry's sad-eyed Karen and
especially Pauline Turner's furiously self-determined Patricia who are
psychologically crippled by the long-term side-effects of their respective
husbands choices in life.

Touring as part of this year's Scottish Mental Health
Arts and Film Festival, Emans' production is a fascinating glimpse into one of
Miller's most intimate works in which an entire system seems to have left its
casualties in need of collective medication.

The Herald, October 5th 2015


Ends

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