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Theatre Review: Death of a Salesman

Joy Watters reviews 'a brilliant, unforgettable unmissable production'.

Dundee Rep surpasses itself with its powerful production of Arthur Miller’s classic work with its perfect understanding of all the elements that constitute the harrowing story of a salesman inexorably moving towards death.

A Brooklyn travelling salesman is thrown on the scrap heap, brutally sacked by the family firm he has long served. It is the story of Willy Lowman and his family which develops into a gut-wrenching tragedy with universal echoes.

The framework is the last few days of Willie’s life but the action shifts back, showing past events and his daydreams about how things might have been.

Director Joe Douglas excels in his pitch-perfect interpretation of the work with the ensemble meeting all those demands to create a tragedy of immense proportion.

Billy Mack as Willy is outstanding, a little guy in a big suit, raging against what life has done to him, switching into unfounded optimism and sometimes just staring into the distance. It is like seeing into his soul with the realisation that his lifelong beliefs have proved worthless.

Wife Linda, a wonderful performance by Irene Macdougall, is facing Willy losing his mind and attempting suicide, while money runs out and Willy and their two sons constantly argue.

Son Biff’s life changed when he found his father with another woman, and Ewan Donald handles the part beautifully from young sporting star to impossible dreamer, despairing at his father’s lack of self-knowledge.

Each part of the production is intrinsic: the set (Neil Warmington) is flanked by smoking incinerators and the failing light (Sergey Jakovsky) presage the destruction that unfolds while Nikola Kodjabashia’s music/soundscape perfectly creates the mood.

It is a brilliant, unforgettable, unmissable production.

Runs at Dundee Rep until March 11.

Tags: theatre

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