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Nov 5th, 2019
Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell's revival of the great Arthur Miller classic stirred the theatre world when it opened at the Young Vic earlier this year. Now in the West End and with it's two leading stars, Wendell Pierce and Sharon D. Clarke, at the helm once again, Death of a Salesman is ready to shake London to its core.
A playwright always ahead of his time, Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (originally performed in 1949) explores the detriment of the American Dream, depression and the effects of toxic masculinity.
Wendell Pierce gives the performance of his life (and consequently is now an Evening Standard Award nominee) as patriarch Willy Loman, a father and life-long salesman whose grip on the American Dream begins to loosen launching him into a downward spiral of depression and hopelessness. Pierce embodies Willy wholeheartedly and presents the struggling man's descent into consuming illness with such truth that it pulls at the heartstrings.
Olivier award-winner Sharon D. Clarke grounds the production as Linda, Willy's devoted wife, and home-maker. Her touching performance as worried spouse and loving mother reminds us why she is one of the most celebrated actors of her time and a true tour de force of the craft. The production also makes full use of Clarke's stunning vocals, bookending the almost three-hour play (although it certainly doesn't feel that long) with a transcending performance of Femi Temowo's spiritual score.
Sope Dirisu and Natey Jones as Biff and Happy make fine work as the Loman brothers. Dirisu has the challenging task of charting Biff's (the once golden son) realisation that his father may no longer be the great man he thought he was. Although slightly wooden in the first few scenes, Dirisu comes into his own in Act Two and fits well amongst the likes of Pierce and Clarke.
Anna Fleishle's design made up of hanging tables, desks, and lamps gives the illusion of a house in suspension and is beautifully coupled with Aideen Malone's clever lighting design, which accosts the senses to punctuate heady flash-backs and Willy's ever occurring 'episodes'.
Miller's masterpiece receives fresh new life in this outstanding and timely revival which sits well amongst a new deluge of mental health advocacy. It is heartbreaking, however, that the issues that Arthur Miller explored over 60 years ago are as true now as they were then.
View our show pages for more information about Death Of A Salesman, Piccadilly Theatre.
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