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Death of a Salesman review

Death of a Salesman review

Ben O'Toole, Anthony LaPaglia and Josh Helman in Death of a Salesman. Photo by Brett Boardman

Anthony Lapaglia at the Theatre Royal

Anthony LaPaglia in Death of a Salesman. Photo by Jeff Busby
Anthony LaPaglia in Death of a Salesman. Photo by Jeff Busby

In the dimmed demountables where memories linger, Ms. McLean’s voice reverberates like a banshee’s lament – a harbinger heralding my first ill-fated rendezvous with Arthur Miller’s Everyman. How I raged against Willy Loman then, my youthful fury rending his tattered reveries into oblivion. A deceiver, a bigot – I abhorred all he embodied, this paragon of delusion drowning in capitalism’s merciless undertow.

Anthony Lapaglia as Willy Loman

Yet the tides of time cast their alchemic spell, and through Anthony Lapaglia’s transcendent artistry, I found myself enraptured anew by this spectre. For here was a man whose flaws mirrored humanity’s fragile condition, each faltering step a bittersweet pavane with the American Dream’s siren song.

Inquisitive minds may ponder how such a dirge ever graced the stage, its dissonant resonance echoing through our modern realm. Was Miller’s quill truly so adroit, or did the play’s advent merely part the veil upon unspoken societal truths? Wilde’s rapier wit may have sliced deeper, but there is a melancholy poetry to Loman’s unravelling that ensnares the soul.

Alison Whyte is the luminous moon of Linda to Willy’s waning star

Anthony LaPaglia and Alison Whyte in Death of a Salesman. Photo by Jeff Busby
Anthony LaPaglia and Alison Whyte in Death of a Salesman. Photo by Jeff Busby

For those unencumbered by school memory’s ghostly baggage, the production offers a sublime immersion into the ethereal craft of the thespian. Lapaglia shines as the embodiment of mediocrity’s anguished struggle, while Alison Whyte’s Linda is the luminous moon to his waning star – a devoted witness to dreams’ inexorable collapse into shadow.

A reverie, at once achingly familiar yet profoundly alien, where one man’s tragedy holds a mirror to our own fragile realities. An evening drenched in the bittersweet vintage of shattered illusions.

The entire cast were brilliant

Anthony LaPaglia and Josh Helman in Death of a Salesman. Photo by Jeff Busby
Anthony LaPaglia and Josh Helman in Death of a Salesman. Photo by Jeff Busby

Josh Helman and Ben O’Toole breathed life into Biff and Happy, two sons torn between reverence and resignation for their flawed patriarch.The supporting cast was rich as  a Cadillac Eldorado’s leather upholstery with Tom Stokes as the unassuming Bernard, Simon Maiden’s Howard a brash corporate emblem, Elizabeth Blackmore’s Miss Forsythe stern yet haunting. Aisha Aidara and Grant Piro injected moments of spirited levity as Jenny/Letta and the incorrigible Stanley. Marco Chiappi’s Charley stood as Willy’s tender counterpoint, a stalwart friend in the gathering dusk. Anthony Phelan cut an enigmatic figure as the prosperous Ben, a reminder of what might have been. And like a sultry siren, Paula Arundell as The Woman cast her bewitching spell.

Dale Ferguson’s bleachers

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

Under Dale Ferguson’s deft hand, the staging evoked the hallowed realm of the ball park, where the ensemble kept vigil from the bleachers. They were the silent witnesses to one man’s inexorable unravelling, his life’s pitched battles played out on this diamond-hewn stage.

A mighty odyssey through Miller’s poignant American portrait, this production resonated with the poetry of shattered illusions. For those willing to embrace the elegiac beauty amidst the wreckage, it was an evening which lingered like the smoky exhalations of a spent dream.


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