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All My Son at Birmingham Rep

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by dpm (subscribe)
dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
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A family drama of deception and guilt
Talawa Theatre bring their own brand of richness to this Arthur Miller tale of love, loyalty, lies and loss.

It's been three years since Larry 'disappeared in action' during the Second World War and the Keller family are divided between those who believe he will return and those who have given him up for dead.

Into this melting pot comes Ann, Lenny's former fiancé whose own family's story of tragedy is inextricably tied up with that of the Kellers.

arthur miller, all my sons, talawa
Talawa Theatre Company All My Sons. Photo: Pamela Raith


Miller's taut script and gradual unpeeling of the layers of deception and guilt ensure a gripping tale of family ties.

Directed by Talawa's artistic director Michael Buffong, the production doesn't let up for a minute – it's a constant turning and twisting of the truth.

Ray Shell is father Joe Keller whose larger-than-life vivacity appears to hold the family together. It's a demanding role in which Shell remains likeable despite Joe's less than likeable actions.Dona Croll is his spirited wife Kate whose eagerness to believe her son is alive hides a deeper level of desperation.

At the centre of the maelstrom is son Chris who is attempting to live his own life and do what's right. Leemore Marrett Jr gets just the right balance so that we sympathise with Chris's struggles and understand his choices.

Kemi-Bo Jacobs is a little over earnest as Ann, the girl whose arrival tips the family into crisis.

arthur miller, all my sons, birmngham rep
All My Sons. Photo: Pamela Raith


Ellen Cairns' designs set this firmly on the porch of the Keller home - itself a symbol of all they have fought for.

Talawa Theatre Company's mission statement is to provide artistic opportunities for actors and creative teams from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. In choosing Miller's All My Sons they are not only delving into family conflict but setting that against a background which explores the African-American experiences of the Second World War.

At Birmingham Repertory Theatre until March 28, the production then goes to Richmond Theatre (March 31 - April 4), Colchester Mercury (April 14-18) and Malvern Theatres (April 21-25). For more information see www.talawa.com
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Why? Arthur Miller with a different accent
When: until March 28
Phone: 0121 236 4455
Where: Birmingham Rep
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