Death Of A Salesman - Piccadilly Theatre
Do yourself a favour and get to the West End and watch a great play with a
talented cast. 

There, hopefully that should do it. A review with the conclusion at the beginning. No
need to beat around the bush and read through a long explanation. Tickets can
be bought here…. 

Now for those wanting to know why, let me tell you more to convince you. Firstly, have a look at the image.
The Piccadilly Theatre and it’s surrounding area is going through a nice transformation.
It’s no longer a hidden backstreet theatre, it now has a pedestrian walkway
making the theatre entrance look like a 1930s Hollywood movie venue. 
Which it was of course. The first talkies were shown here at this venue when it
was a cinema. The new architecture outside brings that West End feel back to
the venue. 

Opposite, I highly recommend visiting Zendel’s. An intriguing and
long-established restaurant and events venue which has many nooks and crannies,
not least of which is its expansive restaurant in the basement serving first
class food.
Once you’ve been fed well, nip across the road and enter an old classic theatre in
style, with the red carpet out for the stars and paparazzi showing interest in
the arriving celebrities coming along to support the production. 

Settle down with an “ordertorium” which Ambassadors have introduced across all their
theatre venues to allow you to get your ice cream and Pringles brought to your
seat by clicking on an app. 

Now, Arthur Miller’s play “Death Of A Salesman” was what initially caught my
attention as something to review. On looking at the program, I then noticed a
familiar face. Wendell Pierce (or Meghan’s dad in Suits as I called him before
I had to look up his name), is playing the lead role. I thought he was
brilliant in Suits and looked forward to seeing what he was going to do with
this role. 

The play opens with a guitarist off stage, strumming a melancholy tune, setting the
vibe which was followed by one actor after another coming on stage and singing
lightly, each with a different vocal tone. A lovely touch which was
complimented by the dim stage lighting and meagre set with props (table, chairs
etc) hanging above ready to drop during scene changes.  I read it in the
program it was first performed at the Young Vic earlier this year, and it
certainly gave me a feel of a fresh production using some smaller venue ideas.
It worked well. 

Pierce plays the father of a generally loving family and works hard and travels
hundreds of miles often not seeing his family. When he does, he has high
expectations for his sons, whom he hopes will be as hard working as he is and
is dismayed when he doesn’t see that happening. 

His sons look to their father seeking love and attention, but it’s often missed
because of his inner thoughts, gruff attitude and desires of their success.
Their mother is ever attentive and interprets the situations well and fills the
void with her love and understanding. 

I realised that this 1940s family is no different from the modern day family
which is possibly even tougher, where there are two parents working hard and
heading home later after work or staying away to keep chasing their hard earned
cash to improve the life of their family, but ultimately losing on important
family time as a result. 

The first act ends leaving you thinking what the young family are going to do with
their father who is increasingly looking and sounding unwell, not being as
successful as he makes out, and is constantly grumpy when he’s at home. This
allows for lots of discussion in the bar at the interval. On this occasion I
bump into Dominic West in the gents, stop to let Graham Norton pass as he
headed to a private bar and edging politely past Patti Boulaye towards the very
busy public bar. 

In the second act Pierce was outstanding and deserved the long-standing ovation at the
end. He brought star quality to the London stage and acted his socks off to
ensure he delivered to our expectations. His fellow cast members did a great
job do, but this was Pierce’s stage and he owned it. As I said, do yourself a
favour and get to the West End and watch a great play with a talented cast.