Chris Born delivers an outstanding performanceJohannes Hjorth

“Be smart”, Kate Keller (Jazz Jagger) tells her husband Joe (Chris Born) throughout the play and her words are heeded by this production’s co-directors Hannah Calascione and Olivia Bowman. They have produced a beautifully crafted piece of theatre that remains faithful to Arthur Miller’s original vision and is simultaneously startlingly, almost violently, fresh. 

Set over 24 hours in the garden of a suburban Connecticut home, three years after the end of the Second World War, All My Sons is a masterful exploration of grief and the spiralling effects of a single, fateful decision. This setting is recreated in glorious detail, with turf laid across the boards of the ADC (and even along the top of the safety curtain) and apples strewn over the stage. Similar attention to subtle detail drives home the play’s compact timescale while creating distinct atmosphere - beginning with a storm in the dark, the lighting slowly transforms into the soft kaleidoscope of dawn, accompanied by ringing birdsong.

The ADC stage is used to its full potential, with glorious set designJohannes Hjorth

It is in such specific features that this play’s strength lies. This is not a showy play, nor is it a play with dramatic changes of scene or loud, extraneous effects, leaving no room for petty errors by the actors. Fortunately, their performances are as robust as the staging. Chris Born is both muscular and moving as Joe: he is a fine actor, with a rather surprising gift for an American accent and the bumbling movements of middle age. He does not, however, entirely steal the show, thanks to some stellar acting by other cast members. Jazz Jagger is eerily convincing as the mother of a lost son, her lines delivered with the unmistakeable and unsettling rhythm of a woman submerged in grief. Tom Russell gives an equally tightly reined performance as Joe and Kate’s son Chris, proving explosively competent in the final scenes, while Eleanor Colville is eccentrically charming as Lydia Lubey, the wife of the Keller’s neighbour, Frank. Despite some awkward stances and occasional mumbling, the cast cannot be faulted in their collective efforts.

Nor, really, can this production be said to be in any way flawed. It is perfectly coherent, delivering both aesthetically and emotionally. Its denouement is a brutal, deeply poignant confrontation between familial, national, and ethical duty. This is not an easy play but drama that is worth watching rarely is – and this is a production that is more than worth seeing.