No fun at the theatre
Not a feel-good play.
Not a trace of humour, at least not in this production. No uplifting parting message for the audience.
In fact, the last scene makes mature bald men in thick glasses reach hastily for cotton hankies.
We are spat out of the theatre into mellow London summer evening, looking pensive, staring ahead, borderline depressed.
If you are in town in pursuit of hedonistic FUN, do not buy the tickets.
No belly laughs here. No jokes, not really. There were a few nervous laughs coming from the audience occasionally, desperate for a moment of light relief but they sounded pretty forced.
If you do decide to immerse yourself in the Arthur Miller 1949 classic, currently on at the Noel Coward Theatre until mid-July, be prepared for hardcore grim misery, blackness, and tears with no trimmings.
It all starts a bit slow, setting the scene takes a prolonged while, and Willy Loman’s twang grates on my ears just a smidge to begin with.
But it manages to find its voice, and by the time Willy pleads pathetically with his employer at the beginning of the second act, I am drawn in, watching with increasing despair his awkwardness, his all-wrong words and actions.
I stop analysing the nasality, stop dissecting, and all I can see is this overweight sad little man, in an ill-fitting suit walking blindly towards his inevitable sad little end. I hesitate to say that I enjoyed the play, it is probably not the right word.
It is so much easier to enjoy a happy ending than to stare at an old widow weeping silently over the fresh grave of her husband. But the fact that I feel moved at the end of it means that I probably did enjoy it.
My husband – admittedly not the world’s most willing theatre critic, or goer to think of it – was not too chatty on leaving the theatre last Saturday.Sunday morning, having slept on it, he finally delivered his verdict; ‘I decided that at this moment in my life I do not need this level of drama, this amount of sh*t. I desire to be entertained by happy stories, where all the good guys win ‘. Mamma Mia it is for us next time.