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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

The Man Who Had All The Luck

Liverpool Playhouse

April 15 – April 19

Author: Arthur Miller
Director: Sealn Holmes
Producer: Donmar Warehouse
Cast Includes: Andrew Buchan, Mark Lewis Jones, Aiden Kelly, Michelle Terry, Shaun Dingwall, Gary Lilburn, James Hayes, Felix Scott, Nigel Cooke,
Roy Sampson, Sandra Voe.
Running Time: 2 hrs 25 mins

Image:'The Man Who Had All The Luck' promotional image

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website

How can a play by one of the greatest playwrights possibly fail? Well, in the case of the original Broadway production of The Man Who Had All The Luck, fail it did. Lasting all of four performances in 1944, the play was slammed by critics and audiences alike and was, therefore, promptly withdrawn from the stage and has rarely emerged from the shadows since.

So, why was this fable of fate and intertwined lives so slaughtered by those seemingly in the know? Timing. America was in the midst of a war on two fronts and living with privations they thought they’d rid themselves forever in the 1930’s Depression years. Audiences did not want to see a young man who had everything going his way – money, a wife who loved him, prospects – bemoaning his good fortune, whilst those around him struggled to get three numbers up on their respective lottery tickets of life.


An understandable point of view, maybe, but mistaken nonetheless. The Man Who Had All The Luck is a masterpiece of writing that has been directed superbly by Sean Holmes and enacted by a cast with exemplary timing and understanding of the ethos of the play.
Andrew Buchan –ITV’s The Fixer – is Dave Beeves, the Lucky Man in question, who is always trying to find a way to understand why he is so charmed or, as he sees it, cursed by good fortune, yet his energy and drive far from alienates him from the audience, but somehow rather draws them closer to him.

Excellent, too, is Shaun Dingwall playing the stranger-in-a-strange land, Gus, with such a lightness of touch it is almost possible to believe he is an actual angel of mercy who has arrived at just the right time in Beeves life to help him on his way.

But almost stealing the show are the understated performances of Aiden Kelly as the chair-bound sage and war hero brother, Shory, and Felix Scott as the wannabe Baseball star, Amos Beeves, on who’s life long expectations the play hinges precariously.

The cast as a whole are superb in wrestling with the unanswerable question of how one man succeeds when another who is more capable fails and turn out an accomplished, slick and highly emotive performance that can rank amongst the finest The Donmar have ever produced.


Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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