Arthur Miller's Lucky Man Is A Subtle Social Drama

The Man Who Had All The Luck, King's Head Theatre ★★★★★

Lettie Mckie
By Lettie Mckie Last edited 34 months ago
Arthur Miller's Lucky Man Is A Subtle Social Drama The Man Who Had All The Luck, King's Head Theatre 5
Jamie Chandler, Chloe Walshe and Alex Warner. Photo by George Linfield.

We're coming up to the 100th anniversary of playwright Arthur Miller’s birth, so it's a good time to get a look at this seminal early work, getting a first class revival in an Islington pub theatre.

Daniel Beeves (Jamie Chandler) is an ordinary man whose luck is extraordinary. He loves Hester (Chloe Walshe) but can’t marry her because of her overbearing father. The first act builds up to the moment Beeves confronts said dad (Peter Dineen), introducing us to the key characters in Beeves's life along the way who all give him conflicting advice about how to deal with the situation. When the father finally arrives he is terrifying, a cold, aggressive figure who won’t listen to a word Beeves says but, at the moment when disaster appears about to strike, the man drops down dead and Beeves is free to marry the love of his life.

The story continues like this in a series of episodes where Beeves continually avoids adversity while those around him suffer pain and loss. In the hands of actors who balance physical poise with emotional intensity, Miller’s motley crew of characters is perfectly realised. Alex Werner is charming as wondering Austrian dreamer Gus, and Keith Hill gives a heart wrenching performance as Beeves’s dad Pat who has put everything into making his younger son Amos (Michael Kinsey) into a major league baseball player.

Dineen is a surprise star of the show, popping up every five minutes in a different role. Although distinct each character he plays has a similarity which gives him an almost spiritual presence in the play, the interviews his characters have with Beeves are often instructive or crucial to the conclusion of a storyline. Dineen gives a versatile and measured performance that makes him the lynch pin of the production.

End of Moving Walkway presents a controlled and emotionally intelligent rendering of Miller’s subtle social drama set in 1940s Midwestern America. The only downside to this show is that none of the actors’ American accents are convincing. However the slight discrepancies in dialect are hardly noticeable such is their grip on the language, collective energy and deep individual understanding of the characters they play.

The Man Who Had All The Luck is on at King's Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, N1, until 27 September. Tickets £15-£19.50. Londonist saw this production on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 06 September 2015