All My Sons by Arthur Miller was first performed in 1947 but its dramatic intensity and themes of trust, loyalty, betrayal and love still resonate today.
The play opens with a thunderstorm cleverly presaging the storms to come but at first we are in the yard of a middle class family, the Kellers, in the outskirts of an American town.
They are each dealing with the death of their son and brother in different ways but despite this they appear to be a loving and happy family, respected by their neighbours.
But tensions are bubbling beneath the surface and the arrival of the dead son’s fiancée, Annie, played with sensitivity and warmth, by Rachel Wood, acts as a catalyst and she inadvertently shatters their peace.
This polished production by Susan Saville cleverly takes us through the emotional unravelling of the characters to a poignant and emotional finale.
Maria Bailey, as Kate Keller gives a wonderful performance of emotional depth and warmth whilst showing us her hidden turmoil.
As Joe, her husband, Richard Brook gives a strong performance which builds from an apparently avuncular and likeable character to one who gradually reveals a different personality.
Iain Winstanley’s performance as Chris, their son, is excellent, and he captures a wide range of emotions as his dreams and illusions become shattered until he is left ultimately in despair.
There is excellent ensemble acting from Matthew Bailey, as George, Annies brother, and Mark Bailey, Lisa Dickinson, Tony Fox, Madhia Ansari-Khan and Leon Smithson as the Keller’s neighbours who all have their problems and each bring out the nuances of their characters.
This is a powerful and emotional play and Dewsbury Arts Group certainly succeeded in grasping and rising to the challenge.
Performances at the Artspace, Lower Peel Street, Dewsbury until this Saturday, for bookings go to www.dewsburyartsgroup.info