Above – Ben O'Toole, Anthony LaPaglia and Josh Helman. Cover – Anthony LaPaglia. Photos – Brett Boardman

Liked or well liked? That is the question.

Whether it is nobler in the mind to think of one as well liked or to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous self delusion and hubris, or to take arms against a sea of desperation and by opposing end them. To die.

This is the tragedy of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, or, if not a tragedy, then, at the very least, his arrival at self-knowledge through desperation, mines the raw material for great drama. This is the coruscating reality of Neil Armfield’s production of, arguably, Arthur Miller’s greatest play.

The relationship of two sons and their father is at the core Death of a Salesman and Anthony LaPaglia as the dad, Willy, and Josh Helman as the troubled and tortured Biff and Ben O’Toole as the feckless Happy, are a terrific tragic triumvirate.

But the real glue to this drama of the Great American Dream is Willy’s wife, Linda, played by the incomparable Alison Whyte. Her fierce fidelity and unyielding support of her husband is palpable in Whyte’s finely calibrated characterisation.

The supporting cast is outstanding proving unquestionably there are no small parts. Tom Stokes as Bernard, Simon Maiden as Howard, Elizabeth Blackmore as Miss Forsythe, Aisha Aidara as Jenny/Letta, Grant Piro as a scene-stealing Stanley, Marco Chiappi as Charley, Willy’s loyal friend, Anthony Phelan as Ben Loman, Willy’s enigmatic and successful older brother, and Paula Arundell all slinky, smoky silk stockinged sexiness as The Woman.

Dale Ferguson’s impressive and utilitarian set suggests the bleachers of Ebbets Field where the cast sit, a chorus as witness rather than commentary, watching the ball park play of Willy Loman’s life unfold and unravel as they wait to come into bat for Willy or pitch their curve balls.

Ferguson along with Sophie Woodward designed the costumes and it is a marvellous symbiosis.

This production of Death of a Salesman illuminates and resonates with intelligence, virtuosity and authority.

Event details

Presented by GWB Entertainment and Andrew Henry Presents
Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller

Director Neil Armfield

Venue: Theatre Royal Sydney NSW
Dates: 17 May – 23 June 2024
Bookings: www.theatreroyalsydney.com

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