The anticipation for this production had been building since the announcement late last year at the season launch. Every year there is a stage play that everyone in Sydney wants to see and this year it is Death of a Salesman.
For a show that sold a record number of tickets the day it went on sale and the box office are now telling the general public that only a limited number of tickets are available of the day… so is it worth all the hype?
Willy (Colin Friels) has been working in his job for over thirty years travelling the country as a salesman. Over this time he has left at home his loving wife Linda (Genevieve Lemon) and two sons Biff (Patrick Brammall) and Happy (Hamish Michael) while he has made a living and tried to support his family the best ways he can.
In recent years things have got tough. Biff has recently returned home after trying to find work and mysteriously disappearing for a few months. The toll of travelling and trying to scrape together sales to make a commission have really knocked Willy about and he’s now secretly borrowing off his neighbour, avoiding a blow to his pride and showing weakness to his beloved family.
Simon Stone has taken creative liberties when directing this play and it has really refreshed this stalwart story. The actors are enthralling and the story certainly has relevance for the iPad generation.
Ralph Myers has a way with sets and it emulates the mood of the production. The use of one single piece of scenery for the entire production works beautifully and drags Death of a Salesman into the 21st century with some style.
We all know why the buzz has been around Death of a Salesman – it’s because of the killer cast – and let me assure you they don’t disappoint… in the slightest. Colin Friels as Willy Loman is uncomfortably good. You cannot help but feel sorry for Willy. He has worked his entire life to support his family, or his idea of what is an ideal family and in his later years watched it all fall apart and Colin plays this perfectly. Maybe a role his was born to play?
Genevieve Lemon as Linda is as loving and devoted as any mother would be, she adores Willy and he can do nothing wrong. Patrick Brammall as Biff is cruising through life trying to find out his place in the world and along the way dealing with the pressures of a father who wants you to succeed at everything you do. Patrick is spot on with his characterisation of Biff who you can see isn’t dealing with his fractured relationship with Willy.
Death of a Salesman hits many chords. The issues faced by Willy and his family are still relevant today and can be related to in many different ways when it comes to career and life and wanting to find yourself. Death of a Salesman has played numerous times in the past and no doubt will be played well in the future too, but Belvoir’s version is definitely a stand out show for 2012.
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