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A CurtainUp London Review
The Man Who Had All the Luck
Obviously when Miller wrote this play he couldn't have known what revulsion the fur trade would cause some animal lovers and so the desire for the mink farm to fail all round may be a more common reaction these days! However the nice and unassuming young man thinks his luck may be finally up when his neighbour's mink get sick. It is of course his sound judgment which is undoubtedly responsible this time for his success. But this production seems very far away from the person described in the programme notes, which are taken from Miller himself writing in Timebends about this play, of the successful man who committed suicide. Was the man on whom the play was based testing out his own good luck, testing the fates to see if he could survive even death by his own hand?
The London performances are outstanding. Andrew Buchan takes the lead as the essentially decent young man who fears a price has to be paid for all his good fortune. I liked too Michelle Terry as his wife Hester and Shaun Dingwall as the earnest German motor mechanic who goes into business with David Beeves. Nigel Cooke as Father Beeves and Felix Scott as his baseball protege son, Amos, who never makes it to the big league deliver a small but sensitive tragedy. Gary Lilburn is Augie Belfast the scout who has to break the bad news to father and son and the extended family. Miller is at his best when dealing with disappointment. Aidan Kelly as Shory serves as a counterpoint to David Beeves' lucky persona. I do not think we had a real Marmon on stage but it was a very beautiful cream and brown old American style car. The sets were otherwise wooden but authentic.
Miller called the play a fable and his theme seems to be, as vocalised by Gus " You can't help it when God drops the other shoe but whether you lie there or get up, that's up to you."
The play was revived at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2002 and then brought to Broadway. To read the reviews go here (New York)
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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