Skip to main content

The Man Who Had All The Luck


Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh
4 stars
Arthur Miller's little seen Broadway flop might just have found its time in this new touring co-production between the enterprising Sell A Door company and Mull Theatre. When the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh presented it on their main stage in 2009, the ongoing recession was already biting hard. Three years on, Miller's tale of one man finding material and domestic success while all about him flounder feels even fresher and more pertinent than it did then.

Miller's play was written in 1940, and first seen in 1944. It focuses on David Beeves, a young mechanic in a small town in middle America. When he attempts to speak to his sweetheart Hester's father about marrying her, the tyrant is hit by a car and killed. When Beeves is flummoxed as to how to fix a particularly flashy vehicle, Austrian whiz-kid Gustav turns up to show him how it's done, this ensuring that Beeves' business thrives.

So it goes in a flawed but still beautiful play which taps into the everyday fears of the common man as much as any of Miller's later works. There's a raw power too in David Hutchinson's impressively stately production. As nice guy Beeves, Stephen Bisland looks increasingly haunted as he wrestles with his own good fortune, almost willing himself to fail while Megan Elizabeth Pitt's sweet Hester looks on. While the play's dramatic shifts are kept low-key, there's a brightly-lit starkness that bathes its more unsavoury exchanges with an unholy glow. David Ben Shannon's lush, string-laden score also lends poignancy to a tale in which failure and success are unflinchingly dissected in a painfully realistic fable.

The Herald, November 9th 2012

ends   

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…

Rob Drummond – The Mack

Rob Drummond was at home in England when he looked at the news feed on his phone, and saw a post about the fire at Glasgow School of Art. It was June 2018, and the writer and performer behind such hits as Grain in the Blood, Bullet Catch and Our Fathers initially presumed the post was to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2014 blaze in GSA’s Mackintosh Building, which was undergoing a major restoration after much of it was destroyed.
As it turned out, the news was far worse, as reports of a second fire were beamed across the world. As someone who had taken Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic construction for granted while living in Glasgow, Drummond was as stunned as anyone else with even a passing relationship with the Mack.
While emotions continue to run high in response to the disaster, Drummond channelled his thoughts on all this into what he does best. The result is The Mack, a new play that forms part of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and a Pint lunchtime theatre season in Glasgow prior …