All My Sons – Queen’s Theater Hornchurch
Set entirely in the front yard of Joe Keller’s (David Hounslow) home, there are no drastic scene changes or stage turns in this production – no one even bothers to move the chairs. All my sons is a popular play, with productions in recent years at Broadway, the Old Vic, the Nottingham Playhouse, the Watermill Theater in Newbury, the Royal Exchange Theater in Manchester and on Shaftesbury Avenue in London, among others. As the evening progresses, it becomes easy to see why – diving headfirst into the middle of a narrative, characters and events are revealed bit by bit. It’s nuanced and complicated (but not so ridiculously complex that you can’t follow what’s going on), and it’s genuinely intriguing, in the first half as the audience learns about the Keller family and their neighbors, and in second as conflicting and dramatic. the tension kicks into high gear.
To the local community, it seems like Joe has served his time in prison and somehow redeemed himself by being a good and kind person who is friendly to everyone he meets. His business partner, Steve Deever, is still serving time for the same offense (namely, shipping faulty manufactured goods that directly contributed to the deaths of twenty-one military personnel), and is therefore, wrongly, not considered or rightly so, by society as a whole. have about the same social status as Joe. And yet, Joe still blames Ann (KIbong Tanji), Steve’s daughter, for having left the neighborhood to live and work in New York!
Joe’s son, Chris (Oliver Hembrough), wants to marry Ann, although Joe’s wife, Kate (Eve Matheson), has her reasons for strongly opposing it. Things get all the hotter with the arrival of Ann’s sister, George (Nathan Ives-Moiba) from out of town, who by modern standards behaves misogynistically towards Ann – the kind of brother who acts like he’s his father. More and more details emerge and lots of emotions pour out, though the production pretty much holds back from veering into melodrama.
Without giving too much away, the piece tackles Joe’s train of thought, in which the pursuit of individual goals has more appeal than the level of responsibility to the world at large to do the “right” thing. . Or, more specifically, what if pursuing the morally right course of action would have bankrupted Joe’s business? Hounslow’s Joe is pompous, energetic and definitely the kind of person one would love to be around when socializing in the pub. Kate is hardly the polar opposite, offering warm hospitality far more often than not, and there is a solid confidence in her broken only by the brutal truth. The fact that she is so stubborn makes Joe’s pleas for calm powerful.
The lighting (Stephen Pemble) is amazing on the Hornchurch scene, depicting a sunny day in some scenes and the middle of the night in another. Things get physical in this production – on my way home from a Saturday night performance, a little fight broke out outside a local pub, and I figured what was going on there wasn’t too far off from what had happened on stage earlier. evening. That’s the thing with this show: there’s so much that continues to be relevant, even though no attempt is made here to update it from its 1940s setting.
Granted, there’s the occasional wonky American accent (I’ve heard much, much worse), and some of the comings and goings of various characters seem overly timed. In the end, however, it was a complete piece that held my attention throughout. Performed with passion and conviction, an engaged cast delivers intense and captivating performances.
Comment by Chris Omaweng
It’s 1947 and successful businessman Joe Keller and his wife Kate are living the American dream in their idyllic suburban neighborhood. Summer wedding plans are underway for their son and his fiancée. The shadows of war are slowly fading. But nothing lasts forever. And a familiar visitor arrives to unearth the secrets of the past, which will tear their lives apart…
Jim-David Bonnick Jr.
Joe – David Hounslow
George – Nathan Ives-Moiba
Sue – Natasha Lewis
Lydia & Bert – Tilly-Mae Millbrook
Anne – Kibong Tanji
Director Douglas Rintoul
Designer Amy Jane Cook
Lighting Designer Stephen Pemble
Sound Designer Helen Atkinson
Accent Coach Joel Trill
Haruka Kuroda, Director of Intimacy and Combat
Sound Associate Michael Bennett
Costume Supervisor Nicola Thomas
Assistant Director Danielle Kassarate RTYDS Assistant Director at Queen’s Theater Hornchurch as part of the Regional Theater Young Director Scheme
Executive Producer Mathew Russell
All my sons
Queen’s Theater Hornchurch, Ticket Lane, Hornchurch. RM11 1QT
Dates: February 10 – March 5, 2022