In the American mid-West, David Beeves is a young car mechanic blessed – or cursed? - with almost supernatural good fortune. While those around him suffer life’s regular blows, everything goes David’s way. At the Donmar Warehouse, Andrew Buchan stars in Sean Holmes’ production
The Man Who Had All the Luck was Miller’s first Broadway play, but when it opened in 1944, it closed after only four performances. Following the failure of the play, which was based on an earlier repeatedly rejected novel, the discouraged author, then in his twenties, vowed that he would never write another play. Fortunately, he didn’t stick to that vow and his subsequent efforts within the next five years - All My Sons and Death of a Salesman - achieved much greater success.
First night critics at the Donmar were somewhat mystified as to why Miller’s play was such a flop first time round. Though they identified an inevitable immaturity to the writing, they were also fascinated by its portent of things to come in the playwright’s later works. The piece is well served by Sean Holmes’ “riveting” and “invigorating” production, led by the “fresh-faced” if occasionally “placid” Andrew Buchan. As Beeves’ more luckless relatives, Michelle Terry, Felix Scott and Nigel Cooke’s performances are also “urgent and persuasive”. Altogether, the production helps unearth a Miller that, while “minor” is nonetheless “intriguing”.
- by Terri Paddock