‘Everything David Beeves touches turns to gold. He has a beautiful home and a loving wife, loyal friends and a thriving business. But as those around him trip and fall, David struggles to understand his fate. What if his Midas touch, like the flip of a coin or the pull of the tide, is nothing more than good luck?’
I haven’t read or even seen a lot of Arthur Miller (The Crucible is a play I’ve very much wanted to see for a while), so I was attracted to The Man Who Had All the Luck on the author alone. And then we have the subject matter: Luck. It’s something we all laugh and joke about, which some people stringently believe in and others take as folly…but what if it wasn’t complete madness?
The premise of Miller’s play is simple: Man is lucky – gets what he wants in life, but the magic of this is the small ways in which it corrupts not only the man but also everyone else around him. That’s what I think Miller’s strength was – the ability to take something simple and create a web that draws everyone into the story.
From one situation to the next, David’s luck comes through, and whilst I started off feeling quite sympathetic towards the character, this shifted as the play progressed, both because of the repetitive nature of the premise (making the play quite long), but also because David changes and becomes darker.
Jamie Chandler played David well; it was a good balance of the All-American boy, with that bit of malice that festered as a result of his own fortune. There was a great analogy throughout from Shory, about the way in which we are static in a sea which controls us, pulling us in and out. It’s a sentiment that really stuck with me and resonates long after the play has ended.
One of the things I really like about the King’s Head (and it’s something I’ve mentioned in previous reviews) is the intimate atmosphere of the theatre, which makes you feel like you’re a part of the performance. Here, with the raised stage, there was a level of detachment, which suited to the nature of the play, but in this particular theatre it didn’t necessarily fit the bill.
The Man Who Had All the Luck was good rather than great, perhaps due to the subject matter rather than the actors’ performances. If you’re a fan of Arthur Miller’s earlier works though, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Catch The Man Who Had All the Luck at the King’s Head Theatre until September 27.