Alison Whyte shines in Sydney’s Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman, currently playing at the Theatre Royal Sydney, showcases the enduring power of Arthur Miller’s classic script through a mix of dynamic performances and thoughtful direction. Directed by Neil Armfield, the production captures the essence of the play, although it occasionally struggles to maintain a consistent pace. Armfield’s direction brings a fresh perspective to the timeless narrative despite some moments that might feel slower.

Dale Ferguson’s set design adds a unique and intriguing element to the production. While it might seem abstract at times, it ultimately contributes to a deeper understanding of the characters’ psychological landscapes. The set’s unconventional nature invites the audience to engage more actively with the unfolding drama, providing a thought-provoking backdrop for the story. The set, matched with Alan John’s compositions, gives the audience a sense of the Loman family’s overshadowing challenges.

The cast, composed of immensely talented actors, truly shines in bringing Miller’s script to life. As Biff Loman, Josh Helman delivers a compelling performance filled with raw emotion and intensity. His portrayal of Biff’s internal struggles and complex relationship with his father is both touching and powerful, making his scenes some of the most memorable in the play.

Ben O’Toole’s energetic portrayal of Happy Loman adds a vibrant contrast to the production. His ability to capture Happy’s charm and underlying insecurities brings a refreshing layer to the character, making him engaging and multi-dimensional. O’Toole’s performance ensures that Happy is not just a secondary character but a vital part of the narrative.

Anthony LaPaglia’s interpretation of Willy Loman is a masterful attempt to navigate one of theatre’s most challenging roles. His portrayal shows flashes of brilliance, particularly in capturing Willy’s despair and fleeting hopes. However, there are moments when the role seems to slip from his grasp, leading to an uneven performance that doesn’t fully encapsulate the character’s complexity.

The standout of the production is undoubtedly Alison Whyte as Linda Loman. Her performance is a beacon of strength and subtlety, driving the play’s emotional core. Whyte’s Linda is compassionate and resilient, anchoring the family’s tumultuous experiences with grace. Her portrayal is a masterclass in conveying deep emotion through understated gestures, making her presence on stage genuinely captivating.

This show offers a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant experience. This production presents a beautiful opportunity for theatregoers to witness multiple award-winning actors breathe new life into a cherished American drama.

– The other Daniel Craig


Daniel Craig is an international performer and has established himself as a trusted theatre specialist on the Sydney Arts Scene. While he understands the technical side of theatre, Dan writes for the everyday theatregoer (unlike some of those more prominent publications). When not in the audience, he loves to travel the world trying new gin. Follow him on all the socials @talldancraig

Death of a Salesman runs for three hours and 10 minutes (including 20-minute interval) and plays at Theatre Royal Sydney through 23 June 2024. Tickets are available through the Theatre Royal Sydney Box Office.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were guests of Good Humans Public Relations.
Image credit: Jeff Busby.