WhatsOnStage Logo
Home link
Review Round-Ups

Did critics give All My Sons all the stars?

Find out what the verdict was on the revival of Arthur Miller's tragedy

Sally Field (Kate Keller) and Bill Pullman (Joe Keller) in All My Sons
© Johan Persson

Sarah Crompton, WhatsOnStage

★★★★★

"The play is just devastating – and given a production as thoughtful and detailed as the one provided here by director Jeremy Herrin, it has an intellectual and emotional power that speaks as loudly today as in the immediate post-war period in which it is set."

"American stars Bill Pullman and Sally Field do not disappoint. Upright and watchful, Pullman is astonishing in his control, the way he never lets rip, but suggests that Joe is a man who has been eaten away from the inside."

"Field is equally convincing, though her performance is larger. She conveys both frailty and inner steel – she has a kind of fierce sweetness as she attempts to smooth over the surface of things, manipulating those around her to achieve her own ends...Morgan once again proves himself to be one of the outstanding actors of his generation, conveying all Chris' warmth and honesty, making their loss unbearable."


Michael Billington, Guardian

★★★★

"What gives the play its momentum is the force of Arthur Miller's message. In part the play is an assault on the twin American gods of family and profit: Joe's last line of defence is: "I'm in business." But this is not simply a play about war profiteering. As the American critic Harold Clurman pointed out, Miller's real theme is the way a distorted individualism has replaced the idea of responsibility to the community."

"Pullman, with his granite profile and spiky hair, lacks the backslapping bonhomie that David Suchet brought to Joe in the last West End revival, but he is excellent at conveying the character's strenuous self-justification."

"Field, meanwhile, is superb as Kate. She combines an innate warmth with a nervy anxiety suggested by the way she encases herself in her cardigan as if it were a protective shield."


Serena Davies, The Telegraph

★★★★★

"Hollywood veterans Pullman and Field, 65 and 72 respectively, creep up and grab the audience by the jugular in Herrin's excellent production of Miller's first masterpiece."

"Colin Morgan here does gauche yet ardent, assertive yet inhibited, in fascinating combination. And Jenna Coleman, touchingly earnest, is his perfect foil – demonstrable proof that this Victoria can hold a stage as well as a television court."

"Ably supported by a superb cast who offer, not least, a little comic relief, it is nonetheless Field and Pullman, bringing the wisdom of age to the characters with the deepest flaws, who deliver the tragedy."

Colin Morgan (Chris Keller) and Jenna Coleman (Ann Deever) in All My Sons
© Johan Persson


Dominic Maxwell, The Times

★★★★

"There are moments in Jeremy Herrin's production when you wish that [Pullman] would, if not shout, then at least speak up a bit. The same applies to Field, who is exceptional as Joe's wife, Kate, a woman deeply in denial about their son's death in the war. "

"Its lack of big "stage acting", though, leads to an extraordinary evening of theatre. All My Sons is a finely drawn, perfectly plotted, remarkably resonant mixture of the personal and the political."


Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

★★★★

"At the heart of that family is Kate Keller, played here by two-time Oscar winner Field, who's making her first appearance on a British stage. She brings both trembling anxiety and an air of mystery to this obsessive character, who's sustained by the delusion that her son Larry, reported missing in wartime action, is still alive."

"Pullman's Joe, who looks like a rather ruffled eagle, uses joviality to deflect questions of responsibility. It's a charismatic interpretation, but his rasping delivery means some of Miller's most potent lines don't land properly. He's not the only one who's less than perfectly audible in Herrin's production, which at times feels underpowered."


Patrick Marmion, The Daily Mail

★★★

"Each of these impressive actors seems capable of delivering a mighty performance – but equally there are times when they feel like they are doing their own private turn."

"For all this star appeal, the show doesn't really kick off until Oliver Johnstone shows up in the second half as Coleman's sweaty brother who's looking to gain revenge after Pullman framed his father."


Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

★★★★

"It's a surprisingly restrained affair, in which Max Jones's set probably gives the most overtly flamboyant performance. A vividly naturalistic, almost hyperreal suburban house and garden strikingly lit by Richard Howell, it looms over everything like a monolith, until finally at the end it dramatically recedes."

"You don't get the sort of ‘big' acting you might expect from this play and this cast. Morgan is the only one who even really gets to have a good shout. But Pullman and Field are good enough actors to hold us riveted regardless. Both performances are masterclasses in moral ambivalence. And in showing the Kellers to be flawed, fragile human beings and not speechifying villains, I think Herrin and cast makes a lot of sense of the play."

Bill Pullman (Joe Keller) and Jenna Coleman (Ann Deever) in All My Sons
© Johan Persson
Loading...