Theatre

Death of a Salesman at Theatre Royal, Bath

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Posted on 13th May 2017

Death of a Salesman

Abigail Graham, director

Theatre Royal, Bath

9th - 13th May; Tuesday & Wednesday 7.30pm; Thursday - Saturday 8pm; matinees Wednesday & Saturday 2.30pm.

 

What a treat. A serious play at the Theatre Royal instead of the lighter fare that is more common. And there are few playwrights more serious than Arthur Miller, who always has a point to make and makes it so elegantly.

Willy Loman is 63 and as dementia looms he is coming to the end of his usefulness as a travelling salesman.  He's never quite made it to the top; life is still paying the mortgage and hire purchase.  “For once in my life,” he complains, “I'd like to own something before it breaks down.”

Usually at odds with sons Biff and Happy, he is always supported by wife Linda (beautifully played by Tricia Kelly, replacing injured Pamela Mile) but cannot stop talking and arguing without listening.

Biff has left home for the wide open spaces and little achievement, whilst brother Happy philanders his way through life.

Then as now, the American Dream isn't always attainable, and things take a turn for the worse when Willy loses his job.

With a superb stylish contemporary set, this seventy year old play is far from dated as the basic dynamics still ring true.

Powerfully acted by all (Nicholas Woodeson, as Willy, stepping in perfectly at the last minute due to the sad passing of Tim Piggot-Smith) the play, unlike Willy, succeeds over adversty deserves packed houses every night.

Philip Horton

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