Raise a glass to Miller play
PUBLISHED: 11:34 02 February 2006 | UPDATED: 20:19 03 May 2010
ARTHUR Miller was a giant among playwrights and had a view of the world which guarantees that his work will live on long into the future. Broken Glass, which is currently being performed by the Company of Ten in the Abbey Theatre Studio, was one of his la
ARTHUR Miller was a giant among playwrights and had a view of the world which guarantees that his work will live on long into the future. Broken Glass, which is currently being performed by the Company of Ten in the Abbey Theatre Studio, was one of his last plays, set in Brooklyn in 1938 as news of the atrocities against the Jews in Germany was starting to emerge. By mirroring the situation under Hitler with the ordeal of Sylvia Gellburg, who loses the use of her legs, he makes an unforgettable statement about paralysis in both a domestic and world context. Broken Glass is an intensely-moving and compelling play. It is softened by flashes of humour but intrinsically it is about tragedy and the plight of those who are caught up in it. For Jews throughout the world, the events in Germany and particularly the Kristellnacht - The Night of the Broken Glass - were horrifying and incomprehensible. For Dr Harry Hyman the plight of Sylvia is equally mysterious but he believes the answer lies in her life with her hard-working but uptight husband Phillip. Director Angela Stone coaxes superb performances from her cast and particularly Keith Davey as Phillip, a man burdened by his demons but determined to do his duty at whatever cost. Keith plays Phillip as a tightly-coiled spring - even when he is sitting down with Hyman you feel as though he is on the edge - and his scenes with Sylvia, a woman so beautiful that he cannot believe she married him, are both touching and heart-rending. She appears to be frightened of him yet has called the tune in key areas of their marriage - a perfect example of what lack of communication can do. Rosemarie Partridge is equally excellent as Sylvia and her portrayal of a woman who has lost her mobility is outstanding. Even as the lights go down at the end of scenes, she continues in the role and throughout is lifted and carried on and off the stage to the wheelchair and her bed. The ever-reliable George Edkins is a puzzled Harry Hyman, torn between his concern about Sylvia's paralysis and his own strong feelings for her - even though the feisty Claire Millins is perfectly cast as his wife Margaret. Jo Emery poignantly plays Sylvia's concerned sister Harriet and Dewi Williams gives a strong performance as Stanton Case, the man for whom Phillip Gellburg works and whose attitude finally cracks his outwardly-controlled composure. Broken Glass is a perfect example of why so many of the Company of Ten's best productions are in the Studio - it stays in your memory long after you leave the theatre. It runs until Saturday and any remaining tickets are available from the box office on 01727 857861. MADELEINE BURTON
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