REVIEW | Death Of A Salesman

The Australian cast in Death of a Salesman. Photo by Brett Boardman

Death Of A Salesman

What A Wonderful Gift Art and Creativity is to us All

Reviewed by Karina Lawrence

With a buzz in the air, the renowned and historic Death Of A Salesman opened at the stunning Theatre Royal in Sydney. An A- Star list graced the red carpet and with a full house the auspicious moment of the shows opening began.

Produced by GWB Entertainment and Andrew Henry, this classic play by Arthur Miller is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest plays of the 20th century. It was a privilege to be in the audience and witness such greatness from a spectacular cast.

A dream role for Anthony Lapaglia’s Sydney stage debut was certainly exceptional to witness. An Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony Award winning Actor, he’s dedication, precision and craft showcased in the role of Willy Loman was both captivating and heart wrenching.

The focus and demand of this role and performance that is certainly a long one, is that of inspiration and indeed impactive awareness to the characterisations and shows content.

Alison Whyte who played Linda Loman was equally awe-inspiring. A character of such impactful values of compassion, strength and support was a standout and her closing scene was that WOW moment for me. It literally said it all and enhanced the level of respect and understanding to the powerful talent and dedication such artists embody.

Directed by Neil Armfield, along with Resident Director Theresa Borg this production delivers some real thought provoking themes where the audience is offered the opportunity to delve into some of the subjects and layered content with their own digression. As Armfiled brings to awareness, The American Dream has consumed much of the world to the profit of a small cohort of thieving, murderous adventures.

We’re free are the bitterly ironic words that close this great drama.

We’re not. We’re the victims of the greed that is destroying our world: this paradise, this gift we have so miraculously inherited.

All the lead actors are exceptional and offered some powerful and affective moments in particularly delivered from Josh Helman and Ben O’toole playing the roles of Willy’s son’s Biff and Happy Loman.

Their humour and depth of layered characteristics are delivered with precision and such professionalism, where they depict the full expression and detailed charisma that allows you to engage and relate to these big characters, raising awareness of the impacts felt within this generational class and society.

The timing of humour and those heart pounding moments is brilliantly executed throughout.

Other cast members whom play relatively small yet powerful characters within the storyline certainly deserve credit in showcasing the importance and relevance of those smaller moments connecting us, to indeed them big ones.

Anthony Phelan plays Willy’s older brother Ben Loman with Simon Maiden playing Howard, Grant Piro playing Stanley and Tom Stokes who plays Bernard.

Aisha Aidara plays Jenny Letta, Paula Arundell as The Woman, Elizabeth Blackmore plays Miss Forsythe with Marco Chiappi playing the role of Charlie.

All exceptional and makes you feel quite privileged to witness this talented cast showcasing their expertise of their craft.

A wonderful and professional company with Off Stage Covers no doubt executing their dedication and talents that include Glenn Hazeldine, Kate Skinner and Damien Strouthos.

The Set Designs are cleverly depicted by Dale Ferguson with influence of one of Willy’s favourite escapes in moments of despair being the ballpark.

The way the scenes intertwine and mingle within this set of a stadium like demeanour, is cleverly thought out and beautifully executed. With Lighting Design by Niklas Pajanti in which is subtle yet so complimentary you don’t quite notice certain transitional moments including minimal costume changes right before your eyes.

Costume Design by Sophie Woodward and again Dale Ferguson along with the Sound Design by David Tonion is cleverly executed as you are captivated effortlessly with the world and era throughout the performance.

The style and essence that is showcased during this performance is beautifully represented and hold’s ones attention based on the content and creative talents that have bought it to life.

That fact that Miller doesn’t specifically touch on what this salesman actually sells is part of the appeal in itself, including what ultimately pushes Willy over the edge.

Instead we are left identifying that which represents much of the working class salesmen with their own value when it comes to how they show up in their job and how that is emphasised within the many other perceptions in that.

It brings you into the clear “Art of the Sell” and how our choices and desires ultimately affect our interactions and experiences within our life time, as well as what happens as we age and potentially feel no longer relevant. Adding how the desire for parents to want their kids to aspire to a better position and have better opportunities in their lives can truly take affect on all involved with that intension, ultimately supported with the many layers that is love.

It was such an auspicious experience for so many reasons.

So truly empowering to be part of and have the opportunity to be an eyewitness. This historic story and playwright, the production, the talented cast and the wonderful experience of being ultimately taken to another world within the theatre.

It brings to the full front of how creativity and the ability to address the depths of storytelling and understanding of characteristics and influence that no doubt lay in all of us, in some form or another.

It’s deep and meaningful and you are certainly left leaving feeling a little different and changed.

Touched by such a historic tragedy, that is still sadly so relevant today in so many ways, therefore you reflect also on some must needed changes within our world today.

What a wonderful gift art and creativity is to us all.

I’m truly grateful I was able to witness such an iconic masterpiece and would certainly suggest you allow yourself this privilege and gift.

A definite MUST SEE!

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