All My Sons review

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On the anniversary of Britain declaring war on Germany, and thus sparking World War Two, Sudbury Dramatic Society opened their production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons – a play based on true events during the latter years of the Second World War.

The play, at the Quay Theatre, tells the tale of Chris Keller (Oliver Rednall), a young soldier who has returned home from war, alone, after his brother Larry was presumed dead.

Refusing to accept it, his mother, Kate (Helen Arbon) clings to any hope that Larry is alive, even going as far as believing horoscopes claiming he is well.

Chris hopes to marry Larry’s former partner Ann (Frankie Hayward), but Kate’s conviction that Larry remains alive stands between them. Throughout all of this, the father, Joe (Denis Brogan) conceals a great sin which when uncovered acts as a catalyst to provoke the last and most dramatic scenes.

As events unfold, the question of morality is raised, and leaves the audience with a haunting ending.

The four actors in the core of the ensemble hold an incredible stillness in their acting, greatly aiding the build-up of tension during arguments which is then beautifully cut through with a simple point of the finger, or a shocking slap. Equally great is the chemistry between Rednall and Hayward creating a natural connection for the audience to behold, and when Ann is suddenly whisked away it makes for an even more heartbreaking end.

Supported by a fantastic cast, the other half-dozen actors populate the world with their sweet, glamorous, or caring personas but all of whom, it is revealed, sense some kind of guilt over the Keller household.

Although seemingly slow paced to begin with, the ball soon gets rolling and everything falls firmly into place. Michael Harding has put together a gripping show by one of America’s best playwrights. A detailed set, atmospherically lit most certainly finished off the neat package.