Resurrection Blues

Previewed 14 February 2006, Opened 2 March 2006, Closed 15 April 2006 at the Old Vic Theatre in London

The British Premiere of Arthur Miller's Resurrection in London directed by Robert Altman

Resurrection Blues is set in an unnamed South American banana republic where a revolution is brewing. But when rebels' messiah-like leader is captured by the presiding military dictator, an American television company offers to buy the television rights to his execution...

Satirising misguided global politics and the predatory nature of a media-saturated culture this is one of the last works by American playwright Arthur Miller. The play was at first draft stage and unseen by anyone, when bids were submitted to broadcast the execution of the Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh, on the internet. It was first performed in 2002 at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, USA - but it is known that Arthur Miller was working on rewrites to it up to a month before his death in February 2005.

The cast features Neve Campbell as 'Jeanine Schultz', Matthew Modine as 'Skip L Cheeseboro', James Fox as 'Henri Schultz', Maximilian Schell as 'General Felix Barriaux', Jane Adams as 'Emily Shapiro', George Antoni as 'Police Captain', Peter Brooke as 'Phil', Peter McDonald as 'Stanley', and Sarah Mennell as 'Sarah', with Megan Arellanes, Nigel Francis, Jeffry Kaplow, Caroline Madden, and Ronan Summers.

Directed by Robert Altman with sets by Robin Wagner, costumes by Jenny Beavan, lighting by Rick Fisher, and sound by Matt McKenzie.

Arthur Miller's other plays recently seen in London's West End include All My Sons, Broken Glass, The Crucible, Death of a Salesman, The Last Yankee, The Price and A View From The Bridge.

"Resuurection Blues is a fantasy-comedy combined with hard political satire... The problem is Robert Altman's stiff, plodding production and Robin Wagner's clumsy set: neither man has caught Miller's shifting, freewheeling, satirical-magical tone. The acting is flat and tediously conventional. Still, not seeing it would be like ignoring Michelangelo's last sculptures: unfinished, yes, but pulsating with the huge power of the creator." The Sunday Times

"Arthur Miller was for my money the greatest playwright of the 20th century and a giant. But Resurrection Blues, sadly, was not Arthur's finest couple of hours... After such movies as Gosford Park, The Player and Nashville, director Robert Altman has returned to his stage roots. And he has assembled a magnificent company including not only James Fox and Maximilian Schell but movie stars Matthew Modine, Neve Campbell and Jane Adams. The problem is the play... Resurrection Blues has a fragile framework peopled by cartoon characters and is not how Miller should be remembered. It's a wayward piece that rambles over satirical targets, but even minor Miller matters more than major work from lesser dramatists and there are moments when old themes come haltingly to the fore." The Daily Express

"The great Arthur Miller was, it is said, 'tweaking' his play Resurrection Blues shortly before his death. No amount of tweaking could have rescued this terrible, risible tosh. It concerns a young revolutionary, thought by many to be the Messiah... Maximilian Schell's general, preoccupied by his own impotence rather than his potency as a dictator, thinks he can improve the country's finances by crucifying the revolutionary and selling the film rights to a New York advertising company. Robert Altman directs a stellar cast quite disgracefully. James Fox, as the father of a young woman who survived a suicide attempt and is now dating the so-called Messiah, gives a truly incompetent performance, delivering those lines he can remember with all the expression of a badly programmed robot; Jane Adams, as the film director, rubs her hair like someone with a migraine. The rest of the cast squat on the ground in brand new ponchos, hopelessly affecting authenticity. If Miller was trying to write a Life Of Brian-style satire on the nature of faith, or to send up the American media, he missed both targets by a million miles... Once again, Kevin Spacey's Old Vic has bungled." The Mail on Sunday

"Kevin Spacey has received a barrage of flak - unfairly so at times, I think - for his track record as artistic director of the famous Old Vic Theatre. So perhaps it wasn't surprising to see him nervously puffing a pre-show cigarette on the opening night of Arthur Miller's last play. Sad to relate, Spacey was right to be anxious. Despite legendary film director Robert Altman masterminding the production and the presence of a cluster of stars best known for their movies this tale of a Christ-like revolutionary figure's impact on an unstable South American republic is enough to give anyone the blues. Maximilian Schell plays the general running the country's military government like a character out of The Simpsons, only nowhere near as believable. Britain's James Fox, as the dictator's clever cousin, performs with all the confidence of a rabbit transfixed by a car's headlights. Miller was attacking cynicism in politics and the media but Altman's messy version obscures the message. Time for another ciggie, Kev." The Sun

Resurrection Blues in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 14 February 2006, opened on 2 March 2006 and closed on 15 April 2006 - was booking up to 22 April 2006.