Thursday 20 December 2012

All My Sons (Digital Theatre)

Captured by Digital Theatre at the Apollo, London
Released April, 2011

I was so excited when I heard that Howard Davies’ much acclaimed production of Arthur Miller’s Post-WWII play All My Sons was going to be released online by Digital Theatre, I made sure I pre-ordered it.

Robert Delamere and the team from Digital Theatre have done an excellent job filming a live performance of the play using mini cameras. Seeing William Dudley’s set close up allows you to appreciate the realism of Davies’ production, especially in the stunning opening scene where a storm knocks down a tree in the Keller family’s back yard.

The benefit of using Digital Theatre is if you missed a production, it allows you to view from your own home, but also you can enjoy the excellently nuanced performances of David Suchet, Zoe Wanamaker, Stephen Campbell Moore, Jemima Rooper, Daniel Lapaine and the rest of the company close up. Sitting in the Upper Circle when I saw it, this capturing ensures that I can appreciate the way that Joe Keller transforms throughout the three acts from the proud family man ruling the roost to just an old man in his dressing gown crying and rubbing his head in frustration. Furthermore, you can watch their performances over and over again.

When the fatal gunshot goes off at the end, I would have liked to see once more the way the house lit up from the gun, but I did like the way that the camera instead focuses on Wanamaker’s reaction – something the audience might have missed in the theatre from the shock of the bang. Crying out her husband’s name four times, Kate realises that this was probably the only way ‘this thing’ (as Kate calls it) could have ended. The tears build up in her eyes and the sadness is conveyed wonderfully.

I could say more about this excellent production but will end by saying how it really is one of the best things I’ve ever seen and will look especially forward to seeing more of Miller’s, Davies’, Suchet’s and Wanamaker’s work in the future.

I fully recommend Digital Theatre.

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