Review: No Villain


Emerging from this pleasingly ungentrified and raucous pub on a Saturday night into the world of Arthur Miller's hitherto unseen early play was an unforgettable transition. Downstairs most eyes were on Manchester United against Bournemouth, upstairs all eyes were on the shadowy interior of a modest Brooklyn apartment.

This is the setting for the play that Miller won $250 for in a University of Michigan competition and set him on the road to becoming one of the titans of 20th-century drama. But it was never staged until director Sean Turner unearthed the play-script in the university's files. The audience is transported to 1936, where the Jewish Simons family are clinging on to a living earned by manufacturing coats. Miller describes the play as his most autobiographical and it has a returning son Arnold, who wants to be a writer and is full of rage for social injustice, just as Miller was. There is also a family, led by Abe (David Bromley) who are at the mercy of forces beyond their control, just as the Miller family were. Here, strikers are preventing Abe from delivering his goods. If he and his socialist sons don't manage to break through the picket lines, they'll go out of business.

Family duty verses personal principal. This is unmistakable Miller, pure and raw. And the author couldn't have asked for a better première of his first play.

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