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Death of a Salesman - Lyric Theatre 2005

Genre: Drama
Opened 16 May 2005
Written: by Arthur Miller
Directed: Robert Falls
Cast: Brian Dennehy (Willy Loman), Clare Higgins (Linda Loman)
Synopsis: Set in 1940s New York, it is the story of Willy Loman, an ageing salesman whose grasp on the reality of his life is slipping away. Through the drama of his family quarrels, replayed in his head, we see the ways in which the flaws of one generation are imprinted on the next.

What the critics had to say.....
MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "As fine a rendering of the play as one could hope for...Brian Dennehy plays Willy superbly."ALASTAIR MACAULAY for THE FINANCIAL TIMES says, " very fine in projecting Willy Loman's mental fixations, his energy and his sporadic charm. By the end of the play he has overdone certain actorly devices, but it's still a riveting performance....Clare Higgins is simple, spontaneous and heart-catching." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, It is a memorable performance [Brian Dennehy] that builds slowly but achieves extraordinary highs....."What a remarkable play it is...." NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Ponderously slow, poorly staged production... fails to convince me Death Of A Salesman is quite the classic we all once thought it to be. It is too melodramatically loaded and sometimes psychologically trite." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Magnificent production...there is not a moment when one isn't moved, gripped, and at times appalled by the sheer raging pain on stage. Not a performance rings false, not a word seems superfluous to requirements. You leave the theatre in no doubt that you have witnessed a great, possibly THE great, American tragedy." PETER HEPPLE for THE STAGE says, "Falls and his production team, including designer Mark Wendland, are certainly due their share of the success of this outstanding version of Arthur Miller's great play."

External links to full reviews from popular press
The Guardian
The Stage
Financial Times
The Times
Daily Telegraph

The much acclaimed writer Arthur Miller born in New York City in 1915 sadly passed away earlier this year at the age of 89. His most noted work Death of a salesman has returned to the London stage with awesome results.

The story concerns an ageing salesman Willy Loman, a man who has spent all his life as a respected travelling salesman. His un-thoughtful boss pressures Willy to keep going on regardless, Willy feels he his losing his sense of purpose and his world and mind starts to fall apart...

Death of a salesman has received much praise over the years, none will match this production which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the play when it opened on Broadway in February 1999, it won five Tony Awards including 'Best Revival', 'Best Direction' for Robert Falls and 'Best Actor' for Brian Dennehy. The entire Broadway creative team has brought this spellbinding, captivating production to life on the London stage!

The play opens with the return of Willy Loman at his front door, from this moment on we enter his world, you are gripped for a 3 hour performance which leaves you breathless.

Brian Dennehy gives a remarkable, moving and sensational performance which should not be missed at any cost! He is Willy Loman living the role to extraordinary highs and lows of one man's struggle in a cut throat world.

Playing the role of 'Linda' his wife, who is worried out of her mind but still supports him and believes in him, is our very own Claire Higgins. I can sum up Claire Higgins performance as Linda Loman in one word 'Excellent'. She powerfully portrays the character and simply gives a superb and wonderfully moving and heart rendering performance. This of course perfectly compliments Brian Dennehy's performance.

The rest of the cast is a complete joy to watch including Douglas Henshall as 'Biff Loman', the boy who succeeds but then in later life totally makes a mess of things, and Mark Bazeley who plays 'Happy Loman', the womanising layabout, is just so good and compliments his brother 'Biff' perfectly.

There are fantastic performances from Jonathan Aris as 'Bernard', Howard Witt as 'Charley' and Allen Hamilton as 'Uncle Ben' they are great!< p> The set design is incredible, gently transporting us from the Loman's house and yard, and various places in New York and Boston. As for the direction, well I think Robert Fall's West End production will be heading for and carrying off another set of awards! Robert Falls has captured the essence of Arthur Miller's classic play and given it a spellbinding and enthralling lease of life!

Willy Loman is living the 'American Dream', Brian Dennehy heads a dream cast, but we don't have to dream, simply call the box office and order your tickets! I don't want to sound like a 'salesman' but don't miss this at any cost!

Gary Mack

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