Review: When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, National Theatre - 'you must be wondering what the hell is going on?'
Review: Jesus Hopped The 'A' Train, Young Vic Theatre - not a word wasted but staging is problematic

Review: The American Clock, Old Vic - not the sum of all its parts


Arthur Miller's Depression-era drama The American Clock isn't revived very often - is it unfairly overlooked?

There is a sort of central narrative following the once wealthy Baum family, who lose everything in the Great Depression and are forced to give up their Manhatten apartment and move in with relatives in Brooklyn.

This is peppered with vignettes showing events elsewhere in the city and elsewhere in America - farmers fixing foreclosure auctions to keep their farms, for example.

In this production at the Old Vic, director Rachel Chavkin gives it an everyman feel by having different actors play the same characters.

However, while this injects the narrative with a universality, it also serves to weaken the personal stories of the Baums.

Live musicians and snatches of songs feel like they have a dual purpose acting as interludes between scenes and adding lighter moments in a story which has little cheer.

The problem is that there is little other glue to really give this play the substance it needs to make a wider impact; in casting the play this way the everyman feel, rather than adding substance, diminishes any heart.

It is easy to see why this play doesn't get many revivals, it has interesting moments but not enough to sustain.

I'm giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️. It's at the Old Vic until 30 March and is two hours and fifty minutes including an interval.