New Era Players
All My Sons, 6th to 8th June and 11th to 15th June 2019
All My Sons is a very powerful play primarily about deception, its consequences, and survival; that is survival of family life and the American way of life in the 1950s. The setting is the backyard of an American house of the period during late Summer and early Autumn. The plot is somewhat complex but begins to be revealed from the first few pages and so we begin to understand how that will develop very early on. Miller’s origins of the play were prompted by a conversation when he heard a pious lady speak of a family which had been destroyed when a daughter turned her father in to the authorities for selling faulty machinery to the Army. All My Sons is based around the same theme but the “crime” in Miller’s play deals with one that was committed long ago and has since forever haunted the Keller family. Whilst this is a dramatic play it also has great humour, and is delightfully sardonic and American in style.
New Era Theatre, Wash Common, Newbury RG14 6NU.
07919 916009 or email .
Review of All My Sons
6th to 8th June and 11th to 15th June 2019
Review from the Newbury Weekly News.
America's sour pie
The price of the Dream laid bare in Miller's 1940s masterpiece
New Era Players: All My Sons, at New Era Theatre, from Thursday, June 6, to Saturday, June 8, and Tuesday, June 11, to Saturday, June 15
As the shadow of the Trump blimp shrinks away and the man himself goes back to the States to tweet about what a great success his visit was, how fitting that All My Sons, a diatribe against the American Dream and irresponsible businessmen everywhere, should be playing.
The President's recent UK visit marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the staging of All My Sons was as well-timed a memorial as any parade.
Arthur Miller's play, set in the garden of an all American home in 1947, centres around the Keller family. Their son, pilot Larry, never returned home from the Second World War and at first this seems to be a study of loss and family dynamics, not to mention a snapshot of US suburban life.
But as the drama unfolds, the past catches up with them and devastating secrets have life-changing repercussions.
The setting of the New Era Theatre, a little red 50-seater venue, was very appropriate for the play, the audience practically nosy neighbours leaning over the fence to take in the gossip. President Harry S Truman's glare from his picture in the Keller house ensuring we never quite feel at ease.
The cast had good synergy, their conviction as a small town community overriding the occasional missed cue or sound hiccup.
Peter Hendrickx was larger than life as businessman and patriarch Joe Keller. Although his accent was AWOL, he thoroughly won us over, making the later revelations uncomfortable to swallow.
There was a hint of a young Marlon Brando about Patrick Lintin, idealistic second son Chris Keller. When he appeared topless he drew whistles from an audience old enough to know better. Hats off to him and Pippa Higgins, as Ann Deever, for a well-executed stage kiss – the stumbling block of many an am dram show.
Higgins, meanwhile, delivered her part clearly and with an innocence that made her place in the final scenes all the more devastating. Special mention must go to Lisa Mounteer-Watson, who was grieving mother Kate Keller from start to finish. From her accent to her psychosomatic afflictions, her tantrums to her efforts to smooth things over, she was thoroughly convincing – a blazing comet of anxiety, denial and suppressed rage all tied up in the proper package of devoted housewife and mother.
A few moments stuck in my craw, such as the of-the-time sexism – Miller's little jokes about pretty young things brightening up the neighbourhood, as though they were floral displays, and the tired trope of nagging wives impeding their poor husbands' dreams, were anything but funny. In the Me Too era, they take on new meaning, making 1940s America's apple pie values sourer than ever.
There were some imaginative touches, notably the slides of Second World War pilots – a nod to the sons Joe finally takes responsibility for when he acknowledges the blood on the hands he used to build his empire.
The New Era Players could have been a little more confident at the start and director Keith Keer could have paced the final scenes better (the last lines felt a little rushed), but overall he and the cast are to be congratulated on a very gripping drama.
All My Sons was dynamic and thought-provoking, an interesting reflection both on the Second World War and the America we all have to live with today.
About New Era
This small, friendly and very successful theatre group was established in Newbury in 1978, and we are lucky enough to have our own small theatre in Wash Common. (click here for a map). We produce several plays each year covering a wide variety of theatrical styles.
New Players Acting Membership
Share the experience of performing on stage; join the challenge of set-building or the creativity of costume design; enjoy the teamwork in whatever direction your talents take you. You could be an active participant in our future productions, or join us for play readings, workshops, theatre outings and a variety of social events. Whether you are experienced or just have bags of enthusiasm, you can be assured of a warm welcome.
If you are interested in becoming an acting member please email our membership coordinator at the address .
To book tickets for any of our productions, please contact our Box Office on 07919 916009 for more information.
The Tempest, 14th to 16th March and 19th to 23rd March 2019. See the review in the archive.
The Heiress, 28th to 30th November and 4th to 8th December 2018. See the review in the archive.
Second Person Narrative, 6th to 8th September and 11th to 15th September 2018. See the review in the archive.
A View from the Bridge, 14th to 16th June and 19th to 23rd June 2018. See the review in the archive.
The Glass Menagerie, 14th to 24th March 2018. See the review in the archive.
A Christmas Carol, 29th November to 9th December 2017. See the review in the archive.
Dear Lupin, 7th to 9th September and 12th to 16th September 2017. See the review in the archive.
The Importance of Being Earnest, 6th to 8th July 2017 at Shaw House Outdoor Theatre, Newbury
Di and Viv and Rose, 15th to 17th June and 20th to 24th June 2017. See the review in the archive.
The Kitchen Sink, 15th to 18th March and 21st to 25th March 2017. See the review in the archive.
Sneaking into the Theatre, 9th to 11th February 2017. See the review in the archive.
Collaborators, 30th November to 3rd December and 6th to 10th December 2016. See the review in the archive.
October Double Bill 2016, 27th to 29th October 2016. See the review in the archive.
The Importance Of Being Earnest, 7th to 10th September and 13th to 17th September 2016. See the review in the archive.
Pride and Prejudice, 30th June to 2nd July 2016. See the review in the archive.
God of Carnage, 8th to 11th June and 14th to 18th June 2016. See the review in the archive.
Gaslight, 9th to 12th March and 14th to 19th March 2016. See the review in the archive.
Foxfinder, 2nd to 5th December and 8th to 12th December 2015. See the review in the archive.
Twists in the Tales, 29th to 31st October 2015. See the review in the archive.
Pride and Prejudice, 9th to 12th September and 15th to 19th September 2015
Be My Baby, 11th to 13th June and 16th to 20th June 2015. See the review in the archive.
Travels With My Aunt, 12th to 14th March and 17th to 21st March 2015. See the review in the archive.
Someone Somewhere Smiled, 12th to 14th February 2015. See the review in the archive.
The Memory of Water, 4th to 6th December and 9th to 13th December 2014. See the review in the archive.
An Evening with Valerie Maskell, 16th to 18th October 2014
Oh What a Lovely War, 11th to 20th September 2014. See the review in the archive.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 3rd to 5th July 2014
Heroes, 12th to 21st June 2014. See the review in the archive.
The Passion, 24th to 28th March 2014 at St John's Church, Newbury. See the review in the archive.
Calendar Girls, 29th November to 7th December 2013. See the review in the archive.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, 12th to 21st September 2013. See the review in the archive.
Our Man In Havana, 13th to 15th June and 18th to 22nd June 2013
Happy Birthday Mr Shakespeare, 25th to 27th April 2013
Quartet, 14th to 16th March and 19th to 23rd March 2013. See the review in the archive.
Absent Friends, November 2012. See the review in the archive.
When We Are Married, September 2012
Sylvia, June 2012
The Actor and the Audience, April 2012
Talking Heads, March 2012
Bouncers, December 2011
People Snogging in Public Places, October 2011
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby: Part Two, September 2011
Disposing of the Body, March 2011
Twelfth Night, December 2010
Amy's View, September2010
Humble Boy, March 2010
The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery, December 2009
Nicholas Nickelby, September 2009
Present Laughter, March 2009
The Lion in Winter, November 2008
84 Charing Cross Road, September 2008
Hobson's Choice, June 2008
Duet For One, March 2008
Playhouse Creatures, November 2007
Make Way for Lucia, March 2007
The Trojan Women, March 2007
The Philadelphia Story, November 2006
Art, September 2006
A Murder Is Announced, June 2006
The Winslow Boy, March 2006
Arms and the Man, December 2005
Single Spies, September 2005
This Happy Breed, June 2005
The Playboy of the Western World, March 2005
The Miser, November 2004
Shadowlands, September 2004
Solitaire, a set of monologues, June 2004
The Beauty Queen of Leenane, March 2004
The Murder of Maria Martin, or The Red Barn, November 2003
Maskerade, September 2003
Pygmalion, June 2003
Shakers, March 2003
Daisy Pulls it Off, December 2002
Les Liaisons Dangereuses, September 2002
The Red Hot Donahue Sisters Discover Droitwich, June 2002
Next to a Stranger, March 2002
The Fire Raisers, December 2001
Rattle of a Simple Man, September 2001
Suddenly At Home, June 2001
Cider With Rosie, March 2001
A Woman in Mind, December 2000
Charley's Aunt, September 2000
Letter from a General
Night School; Landscape; Victoria Station
Dancing at Lughnasa
The Birthday Party
Arsenic and Old Lace
Under Milk Wood
The Plough & the Stars
Ring Round the Moon
Born in the Gardens
Shadow of a Gunman
The Prisoner of 2nd Avenue
The Real Thing
Le Malade Imaginaire
Juno & the Paycock