Review: All My Sons, starring Tracy Letts and Annette Bening
When do our actions start to impact the entire world and not just those around us? Arthur Miller's three-act drama works to answer this question as best it can, in this now classic story about a family that has been forever changed by actions made during the war. The question and its answer are at the heart of the story and feel more powerful and relevant than ever in Roundabout's current revival that is about as nigh on perfect as you can get.
In All My Sons, Miller has crafted a tale that is about guilt, greed, responsibility and the consequences of our actions. It is as intense as it is electrifying and is heightened by the incredible performances onstage. Tracy Letts and Annette Bening star as Joe and Kate Keller. Despite the fact that there were defective parts made in his machine shop during the war, he was exonerated while his partner, Steve Deever, went to jail. And Kate is plagued by the fate of her son Larry, while back at home her son Chris (Benjamin Walker) is working to take his relationship with Ann Deever (Francesca Carpanini) to the next step, despite his mother's insistence that Larry, who was Ann's beau, is still alive.
Everything that has been done for this revival of All My Sons has only helped it. From the remarkable set design to incredible performances, the production brings out the best of Miller's work, which is actually helped by Jack O'Brien's minimal direction, allowing the audience to feel as though they may have been a fly on the wall while the events onstage unfolded.
As is the case with most plays, the action began long before the curtain rises on Joe Keller sitting on his back porch. And though Steve and Larry are never seen onstage, their presence weighs on the plot, driving it forward through the first two acts before causing it to hurtle at full speed to its emotionally intense ending. It is stunning, surprisingly funny at times, and equally as heartbreaking. And it is certainly not one you want to miss.