Theatre Review: All My Sons

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, April 23, 2009

Joe Keller is an affable businessman.  Many times, he’s been able to make good on a difficult deal with a winning smile and a firm handshake.

But an angry figure from the past revives talk about Keller’s prior conviction, for delivering defective engines to the Air Force. Even though the conviction was reversed on appeal, people are still simmering . . . 21 fighter pilots died. Keller and his wife are worried.

“What does George want?”
“He’s been in Columbus since this morning with Steve. He’s got to see him right away, he says.”
“What for?”
“I don’t know. He’s a lawyer now, Joe. George is a lawyer. What does Steve suddenly got to tell him that he suddenly has to take an airplane to see him?”
“What do I care what Steve’s got to tell him?”
“You sure, Joe?”
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
“Be smart now, Joe. Just, be smart!”

You’ll notice that she doesn’t urge him to be honest. Keller’s attempt to smooth over the past one more time only makes things worse. “All My Sons” is a potent drama with moral implications, and this powerful production at River Stage benefits from strong acting and fine direction. The play is set in the 1940s, but the story remains fresh and compelling. It’s the best local production of an American classic so far this year.

"All My Sons" plays through May 17th at River Stage on the Cosumnes River College campus in Sacramento.