Nuanced performances make powerful ‘All My Sons’ a must-see

By David Lampe-Wilson
2016 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Weston Playhouse completes its 80th season on a dramatic high note as a secret destroys an American Dream in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, playing through Sunday, Sept. 4 at the Weston Playhouse. The play is part of the Playhouse’s American Masters Series – and it is dark, powerful and gripping.

Django Grace, left, as neighbor Bert, and David Wohl as patriarch Joe Keller.All photos by Hubert Schriebl

All My Sons is old-school playwriting with roots that can be traced as far back as Greek tragedy, but the action of the play is set in August 1947, somewhere in the Midwest of America. In this America, veterans who have returned from World War II find that their high expectations can never be met and that their sacrifice  has accomplished little on the Home Front. The play bristles with anger and passion; you will not leave the theater unmoved.

Joe Keller is a man who loves his family above all else, and has sacrificed everything, including his honor, in his struggle to make the family prosperous. He has lost one son in the war and wants to see his remaining son, Chris, take over the family business. Chris wants to marry Ann Deever, the former fiancée of his brother, Larry. His mother, Kate, insists that Larry may still be alive; it is this belief that has enabled her, for three and a half years, to support Joe by concealing her knowledge of a dreadful crime he has committed.


Christopher Kelly as George Deever, brother to Shannon Marie Sullivan’s Ann Deever, and Molly Regan as Kate Keller, who lives in denial of her husband’s guilt.

In All My Sons, Miller examines the morality of the man who places his narrow responsibility to his immediate family above his wider responsibility to the men who rely on the integrity of his work. And Miller gives us fatal flaws and survivor guilt in equal measure in this expertly crafted play.

A strong cast offers multilayered characters in nuanced performances. David Wohl as Joe Keller and Molly Regan as Kate Keller give the best performances we’ve seen this season. These are two seasoned players at the height of their craft — Wohl as the glad-handing patriarch with a dark secret and Regan as his seemingly delusional wife. Both give rich emotion-filled performances, peeling away the layers of their flawed characters to their aching core.

Shannon Marie Sullivan embodies the lonely Ann with subtle shades and undertones. We begin to realize that she knows more than she lets on, and Sullivan slowly exposes Ann’s depth and humanity. Davy Raphaely plays Chris Keller, the playwright’s onstage surrogate, and his long speeches sometimes seem overly strident (as young idealists can sometimes be) while lacking the insight of a battle-weary veteran of the war.


Taking center stage are Gabriel Vaughn as neighbor Frank Lubey, Molly Regan as Kate Keller and Davy Raphaely as Chris Keller.

Director Mary B. Robinson guides the production with a sure hand, keeping the pace taut and at times allowing the play to breathe in long pauses. Her cast of 10 players navigates the complex story and the tiny Weston stage with such skill that we are drawn into its drama even as we find ourselves laughing at the lighter moments. These characters, we realize, are real people, fully formed and knowable.

Robinson is ably assisted by a skilled creative team: scenic design by Jason Simms, lighting design by Jiyoun Chang and costume design by Grier Coleman.

If all you know about Arthur Miller is Death of a Salesman, A View From a Bridge and  The Crucible, you owe it to yourself to discover this great American play. You are not likely to see a better production any time soon.

All My Sons continues through Sunday, Sept. 4 at The Weston Playhouse, 12 Park St., Weston. Performances: Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. For tickets and information click here or call 802-824-5288.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeIn the ArtsReviews

About the Author: After 30 years as a theater critic and arts editor for a Connecticut daily newspaper, David Lampe-Wilson transplanted to Vermont with his wife and two cats.

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.