Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of DEATH OF A SALESMAN?
Wendell Pierce makes his UK stage debut as Willy Loman, with Sharon D. Clarke as Linda Loman, Arinzé Kene as Biff Loman and Martins Imhangbe as Happy Loman. The full cast also includes Ian Bonar as Bernard, Trevor Cooper as Charley, Joseph Mydell as Ben Loman, Nenda Neurer as Letta, Jennifer Saayeng as Miss Forsythe, Matthew Seadon-Young as Howard Wagner and Stanley, Maggie Service as The Woman and Jenny and Femi Temowo as Willy Loman's Father and Musician.
Death of a Salesman is directed by Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell, with design by Anna Fleischle, lighting design by Aideen Malone, sound design by Carolyn Downing, composition and musical direction by Femi Temowo and casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Marianka Swain, BroadwayWorld: Seventy years on from its Broadway opening, Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell present Arthur Miller's masterpiece afresh in an inspired, shattering revival. One key change - making the 1940s Loman family African-American - gives the play a whole new texture, while retaining its searing condemnation of the American Dream's false promises.
Michael Billington, The Guardian: There are two distinct impulses behind this remarkable revival of Arthur Miller's most famous play. One is to make it a story about the travails of a black Brooklyn middle-class family. The other is to remind us this is a non-naturalistic drama originally called The Inside of His Head. The two ideas sound contradictory but are skilfully reconciled thanks to an inventive, if overlong, production by Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell and fine performances from a cast led by The Wire's Wendell Pierce and Sharon D Clarke.
Ann Treneman, The Times: This revival of Arthur Miller's great 1949 play gives us Willy Loman and family as not seen before: now they are an African-American family. Nothing else has changed. It's still 1940s Brooklyn. Willy is still a man always on the road, unstable, troubled, a dreamer obsessed with his sons. But it feels quite different.
Holly Williams, The Independent: Arthur Miller's 1949 play Death of a Salesman is a cast-iron classic, and this is a very solidly wrought production - not startlingly revelatory, but given an extra sheen thanks to the casting of a black central family. And what casting: Wendell Pierce, of the The Wire and Suits, is Willy Loman. Sharon D Clarke plays his wife Linda, and Arinzé Kene his son Biff.
Andrzej Lukowski, TimeOut: Last year, super-director Marianne Elliott brilliantly rewired one great American classic: Stephen Sondheim's 'Company', which she refreshed for the twenty-first century by astutely gender-swapping the lead character. Her black-cast-led revival of another American classic, Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' - co-directed with her long-term associate director Miranda Cromwell - possibly doesn't redefine it to quite the same extent. Other directors have had the same casting idea. But it is a phenomenal production that unquestionably finds new depths to the play.
Daisy Bowie-Sell, WhatsOnStage: This production of Arthur Miller's play, co-directed with Miranda Cromwell, is turned into an African American tragedy. The result is a transformative, brilliant staging which offers a dazzling new look at a dazzling play, demonstrating once again that Miller's words, written in 1949, can speak across ages, times and cultures.
Photo Credit: Brinkhoff Mogenburg