REVIEW: Death of a Salesman, Harrogate Studio Theatre
At a time when we are trying to make sense of what is going on the other side of the Atlantic, what better than to experience Arthur Miller's tragedy about the American Dream, Death of a Salesman?
Particularly when the play is given an outstanding performance, such as that offered by the Harrogate Dramatic Society.
Rachel Conyers’ production presented the piece not as a literal representation of Willy Loman’s life, but as a series of dramatic episodes taking place within his mind.
Aided by evocative music and variations of lighting, she was thus able deftly to merge illusion and reality, the past and the present.
Stuart Newsome gave an astonishing portrayal of Willy, living half in the fantasy of success as a businessman and father, half in a life of abject failure and disillusionment.
His face said it all: at one moment creased with anguish and pathos; at the next, unfolding to a beaming image of deluded self-satisfaction.
As his loyal wife, Jenny Antram has to share in his false aspirations, yet confront the harsh reality of making ends meet and observing the disintegration of the family around her. She too was superb.
But, without exception, all of the cast were excellent, projecting absorbing characterisations with authentic East Coast accents. To pick out a few: James Willstrop at the lanky, ineffectual son Biff; Paul Dunstan as the quirky but compassionate neighbour Charley; Mike Garside as Willy’s successful brother Ben.
It runs at Harrogate Theatre Studio until Saturday Febraury 4, daily at 7.45pm plus a Saturday matinee at 2pm
Box office: 01423 502116.