A heartbreaking drama told without sentimentality

Death of a Salesman, Open Space Theatre Company at Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft; performances at Fisher Theatre, Bungay (19th) and The Cut, Halesworth (20th).

As the years advance, appreciation of Arthur Miller’s masterpiece deepens.

That a man at 63 is too old and weary to be effective in business is at odds with today’s 60 being the new 40, but an older person losing his grip resonates still.

Paul Baker presents Willie Loman, a once highly successful travelling salesman, staunch believer in the American Dream and hard work, liked and respected, with a well-judged mix of anger, frustration, confusion, with sparks of the younger worker, husband and father.

The ever-impressive Yves Green is his wife, handling memories with joy and his decline, their quarrelsome sons and the fractured father/son relationship with stoic resignation (Mark Burridge and Peter Long, both good).

The supporting cast, especially Patrick Quorn and Dawn Symonds, are spot on.

But, for what is a painful, poignant and funny, bitter and distressing journey, full credit goes to Director David Green for exploring the marriage, the brotherly relationship, the father/son issues in a well-paced, sympathetic yet forensic way.

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The tragic conclusion, that a man who is broke and no longer able to earn a living, decides his life assurance policy payout will give his son a fresh start, is heartbreaking. That it arrives without sentimentality is the mark of a fine ensemble, which Open Space are.

David Porter

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