Arthur Miller’s play is huge in many ways, including its running time. Fortunately, directors Pete Woodward and Alan Ward have pretty much hit the nail on the head for Bench Theatre’s adaptation.
Jeff Bone and Zack Cuthbertson, who play brothers Biff and Happy, shoulder much of the action very well with Cuthbertson demonstrating a good understanding of silence speaking louder than words.
Ingrid Corrigan shines as Linda in the scene in which she confesses awareness of her husband’s intentions to her sons, and is also agonisingly moving in the final scene.
Before the main course comes a swift amuse-bouche – Craig Parker takes an uninteresting and unimportant waiter and creates a camp comic turn that nicely lifts the act two tension before we take the final plunge. And what a plunge it is.
As Willy Loman, the eponymous salesman, Mark Wakeman masterfully juggles world-weariness, frustration and coruscating anger.
The final confrontation between Loman and son Biff – whose life he vicariously tries to live – is uncomfortably satisfying and beautifully realised, with Bone and Wakeman both pulling out all the stops in a volcanic battle of wills.
Opening night had a lot of the Bench’s actors fluffing their cues, but the overall quality of the final product more than made up for that.
Until November 25.