Feeling incredibly blessed. We saw Anthony LaPaglia in this icon of American theatre on Sunday 10th September. Having last visited Melbourne's Her Majesty's Theatre 13 years ago for Mary Poppins, it was a pleasure just walking through the foyer of such a beautiful theatre, with so much character and warmth.
Entering the auditorium we were taken by the stunning set - the worn and rusted bleachers of Ebbet's Field - and we knew were in for a treat. Although the play is iconic, I had never seen it performed live (having studied the script at acting school over 20 years ago) so was very keen to see it come to life.
And came to life it did! The incredible staging gave me goosebumps. The action flowed seamlessly, using the different levels of the bleachers as mini stages, bringing the various scenes together with a simple set piece change or a few steps. The entire cast were ever present, watching the action from the bleachers, directing our gaze and seemingly entranced in the story. Although a long play by modern standards (3 hours 15 min including interval), we were mesmerised and transported in time.
Anthony LaPaglia as central character Willy Loman was understated, exhausted, captivating and absolutely marvellous. A masterclass in embodying a role, both physically and vocally. Alison Whyte as Linda, his wife was exceptional as were Josh Helman and Sean Keenan as his two sons, changing from keen and excitable teenagers, adoring their father, to the older versions of themselves, jaded and broken. The rest of the cast were also on point.
We cried, we laughed and we came out thinking, both about the times the play was written in and how little our society has changed over the years. The pressure we put on ourselves to be elevated. To win. To be remembered. That's what great theatre is all about.
Highly recommend if you are in Melbourne, or willing to travel. Closes 15th October.