‘Gripping’: ALL MY SONS – The Old Vic ★★★★★

In Features, Interviews, London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Rev StanLeave a Comment

The Old Vic, London – until 8 June 2019

He’s just discovered the truth about someone he holds dear, how he has lived with a lie – or was it, deep down, denial? It is almost too much to bare adding to multiple layers of guilt he already feels.

Chris Keller in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons feels like a character and performance Colin Morgan was destined to give and he gets to perform it alongside the exceptional talent of Hollywood giants Sally Field and Bill Pullman.

He is a complex character – as are all the Kellers – in a play about secrets, the lies we tell ourselves and in which Miller questions the price of the American Dream.

It is a couple of years after the war and Chris is working for his affable, humorous, peacekeeping dad Joe (Pullman) at his factory. The family is successful despite Joe’s business having been embroiled in a scandal during the war but is haunted by the tragic death of Chris’ brother Larry who has been missing in action for three years. Chris is trying to build a future when the idea of having a future makes him feel guilty, having survived the war.

His mother Kate (Field) lives in denial believing that Larry is still alive. Her fragile health combined with her stubborn commitment holds the rest of the family prisoner. The only future she can see is Larry’s return when he will marry his sweetheart Ann (Jenna Coleman) and she won’t contemplate anything that challenges that ideal.

Which is an additional problem for Chris because he wants to marry Ann with whom he has been corresponding for two years. When Ann visits at Chris’ request it is a key which will unlock Pandora’s box and shatter the fragile comfort of the Kellers world.

Morgan’s performance is always giving. It builds from someone not quite at ease with himself to a moment of joy when the future looks bright to someone shattered and almost inconsolable.

Field’s Kate is the perfectly pitched mix of ferociously defensive mother and something quite fragile and nervous, sometimes visibly shaking with the strain of living in a house of cards.

All My Sons is a gripping play, a slowly unravelling emotional thriller with masterclass performances and, like Colin Morgan, I felt a bit shattered at the end.

I’m giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ grab a ticket fast.

It is two hours and 35 minutes including an interval and is at the Old Vic Theatre until June 8.

Feels like an appropriate time to celebrate Colin Morgan’s other stage work:

With Ellie Kendrick in Gloria at Hampstead Theatre

With  Ben Whishaw and Rupert Grint in Mojo, Comedy Theatre

As Ariel in The Tempest at the Globe Theatre

Our Private Life, Royal Court Upstairs

And his stage debut, Vernon God Little, Young Vic

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Rev Stan
Revstan really is a reverend (it's amazing what you can buy on the internet) but not a man (the Stan bit is a long story). By day, she is a freelance editor and copywriter; at night, she escapes into the world of theatre and has been blogging about it at theatre.revstan.com since 2007. She says: “I'll watch pretty much anything, from something performed on a stage the size of a tea tray to the West End and beyond. The only exception is musicals. Tried 'em and they just don't do anything positive for me.”
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Rev Stan
Revstan really is a reverend (it's amazing what you can buy on the internet) but not a man (the Stan bit is a long story). By day, she is a freelance editor and copywriter; at night, she escapes into the world of theatre and has been blogging about it at theatre.revstan.com since 2007. She says: “I'll watch pretty much anything, from something performed on a stage the size of a tea tray to the West End and beyond. The only exception is musicals. Tried 'em and they just don't do anything positive for me.”

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