The American Clock

by Arthur Miller

27 March – 21 April 2012

The first professional UK production in more than 25 years

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★★★★★ Five Stars, The Public Review
★★★★ Four Stars, Fourthwall Magazine

Starring triple Olivier Award nominee, Issy van Randwyck…Inspired partly by Studs Terkel’s oral history Hard Times, and partly by Arthur Miller’s own recollections, The American Clock is a panoramic ‘dramatic vaudeville’ about the Great Depression of the 1930s. When the stock market crashes, a well-to-do family loses everything and is forced to move from their plush penthouse apartment to the modest home of a relative in Brooklyn…

More relevant than ever, The American Clock is a deeply affecting evocation both of a tortured time in American history and of the indomitable spirit of the people who survived in the face of unaccustomed adversity.

The American Clock premiered on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre in 1980. Its only professional UK production to date was at the National Theatre in 1986 where it was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Play.

About The Playwright Arthur Miller

Playwright Arthur Miller (1915-2005) was inarguably one of the greatest American dramatists of the twentieth century with a career that spanned over seven decades. His plays include The Man Who Had All The Luck (1940), All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), A View from the Bridge (1955), A Memory of Two Mondays (1955), After the Fall (1964), Incident at Vichy (1964), The Price (1968), The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972), The Archbishop’s Ceiling (1977), Playing for Time (1980), The Last Yankee (1991), The Ride Down Mount Morgan (1991), Broken Glass (1994), Mr Peter’s Connections (1998), Resurrection Blues (2002) and Finishing the Picture (2004).

About The Director Phil Willmott

Director Phil Willmott is Artistic Director of The Steam Industry incorporating the Finborough Theatre (under Artistic Director Neil McPherson) and the West End’s open-air "Scoop" amphitheatre on London’s South Bank. He is a recipient of a TMA Award for outstanding direction of a musical, a Peter Brook Award for his outdoor classical productions and family shows, whatsonstage award nominations for best regional and Off West End productions, a broadwayworld nomination for Best Musical in the UK, a Brooks Atkinson/Royal Court award in New York for Playwriting and four Spirit of Broadway awards. Over the past two decades his productions at the Finborough Theatre have included The Notebook of Trigorin, Country Magic, F*cking Men, Trelawny of the "Wells", The Fundraisers, Watch Out for Mr Stork, Venetian Heat, Illyria, The Oedipus Table, Crime and Punishment, The Grapes of Wrath and Loyalties as well as many workshops and readings.

About Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel (1912-2008) was a celebrated American broadcaster and historian. He achieved acclaim for his oral histories of the American experience with his 1970 book Hard Times, a collection of interviews with Americans recounting their experience of the Depression. His 1984 work The Good War, featuring first hand accounts of America’s involvement in World War II, earned him a Pulitzer Prize. Other publications include American Dreams: Lost and Found (1980), Chicago (1987), The Great Divide (1988), Race (1992), Coming of Age (1995), My American Century (1998), Will the Circle be Unbroken? (2001), They All Sang (2007) and Touch and Go: A Memoir (2008).

The Press on Phil Willmott's Previous Productions at the Finborough Theatre

“Phil Willmott's excellent revival” Michael Billington, The Guardian on Loyalties

“Phil Willmott’s graceful and impeccably detailed production” Lucy Powell, Time Out on Loyalties

“Willmott’s production is gripping and pacey” Sam Marlowe, The Times on Loyalties

“Phil Willmott proves why he is one of the most versatile, best and amazingly prolific directors around“ The Guardian

"It's hard to top a Phil Willmott show" The Daily Mail

“Triumphantl…a production bursting with theatrical atmosphere” Carole Woddis, What’s on in London onTrelawny

“An exuberant celebration of the irrepressible urge to make theatre” Michael Portillo, The New Statesman on Trelawny

“This is a serious, stimulating and timely revival.” Paul Taylor, The Independent on The Lower Depths

“An accomplished, intelligent staging.” Sam Marlowe, The Times on The Lower Depths

“This incisive production” Sarah Hemming, Financial Times on The Lower Depths

“Phil Willmott’s fast, punchy production” Mark Shenton, The Stage on F***ing Men

“Phil Willmott’s direction is impressively sleek” Lucy Powell, Time Out on F***ing Men

“A terrific find” **** Four Stars, WhatsOnStage on The Notebook of Trigorin.

“Phil Willmott’s production of this intriguing yet difficult play is compelling” Natasha Tripney, The Stage on The Notebook of Trigorin

“Willmott’s sensitive production, steeped in the sweltering atmosphere and sing-song delivery of Williams’ dramatic world, has itself the feel of a dream play…With its mix of rueful pain, biting wit and stultifying melancholy, the production presents a fascinating meeting of creative minds.” Sarah Hemming, Financial Times on The Notebook of Trigorin

The Press on The American Clock

★★★★★ Five Stars, The Public Review
★★★★ Four Stars, Fourthwall Magazine

“A moving and evocative picture of a country and economy on the edge of total collapse.” Gerald Berkowitz, The Stage.

“The atmosphere of the Great Depression is conjured with wit and great dexterity as The American Clock treads the fine line between the utter despair of the times and the indomitable spirit and optimism of those experiencing the worst” Mary Halton, Stagewon

“Black humour, real heart and a healthy serving of irony mingle in this chillingly relevant production.” Mary Halton, Stagewon

“There's strong, involving performances in an unsettling but ultimately rewarding play.” Nick, Partially Obstructed View.

“This important and poignant production should not be missed.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network.

“Miller’s play, not revived since its UK premiere at the National Theatre in 1986, takes a panoramic snapshot of the devastating Wall Street Crash and the years of economic depression that took hold in the aftermath. It is epic dramatic vaudeville squeezed onto the postage stamp-sized stage of the Finborough, but the compression has not sacrificed any of the quality.” Catherine Love, Fourthwall Magazine.

“A tremendous production of an intelligent play.” Jon Wainwright, Atomies.

“There can be no doubting the topicality of Arthur Miller’s 1980 drama of the Great Depression, drawn from the US historian Studs Terkel’s oral documentary history Hard Times and from Miller’s personal memories. Overweening confidence and lavish spending, followed by the sickening lurch of catastrophic economic collapse, then the humiliation of sudden unemployment, penury, homelessness — all feel horribly pertinent.” Sam Marlowe, The Times.

“Arthur Miller's The American Clock was nominated for an Olivier in 1986 but hasn't been seen in London since” Nick, Partially Obstructed View.

“For indeed there are echoes here of Miller’s great plays, especially Death of a Salesman” Giles Cole, What’s On Stage.

“Issy van Randwyck positively shines as Rose Baum, standing out in an already strong ensemble as a woman struggling desperately to keep her family together while the lives they have known fracture.” Mary Halton, Stagewon.

“Issy van Randwyck, who deserves particular mention in an excellent ensemble cast, is the beating heart of the production.” Catherine Love, Fourthwall Magazine

“Van Randwyck is striking as Rose, longing helplessly for a change of luck, and consoling herself with books and memories of nights at the theatre, Michael Benz has firebrand intensity as her budding journalist son Lee.” Sam Marlowe, The Times.

“Issy van Randwyck’s delicate songbird Rose deconstructs in front of our very eyes.” Ought to be Clowns.

“Patrick Poletti and Michael Benz serving their dual functions with particular effectiveness.” Gerald Berkowitz, The Stage.

“There are strong performances from Issy Van Randwyck as Rose Baum and Patrick Poletti as the Alfieri-style narrator.” Giles Cole, What’s On Stage.

“Michael Benz sensitively charts aspiring journalist Lee’s (representing Terkel himself?) growth into maturity and developing social conscience.” Julia Rank, Exuent Magazine.

“David Ellis brings an endearing gawkiness to his cousin Sidney.” Julia Rank, Exuent Magazine.

“The whole cast is outstanding.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network.

“The cast of 12 slip impressively between the play's 37 characters, and there are some fine performances - particularly from Christopher Heyward and David Ellis.” Laura Barnett, Time Out.

“Phil Willmott’s production fluidly moves among the many episodes, frequently overlapping action to give a sense of simultaneity, and a cast of twelve double and redouble roles with instant characterisations.” Gerald Berkowitz, The Stage.

“A highly talented ensemble sliding from character to character in Phil Wilmott’s slick and sharp production.” Mary Halton, Stagewon.

“Beautifully lucid direction from Phil Wilmott.” Giles Cole, What’s On Stage.

“Phil Willmott aptly directs this historical mosaic of human memories and emotions.” Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network.

“Director Phil Willmott's rare revival is timely: the parallels with our own situation are numerous and disturbing.” Laura Barnett, Time Out.

“A fine political document that is well worth a look, in an engrossing production from Finborough favourite Phil Willmott.” Phillip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide.

“It cannot be argued that the Finborough’s revival of The American Clock is anything other than timely. In fact, the true surprise lies in its not having been programmed anywhere else since the beginning of the financial crisis. Arthur Miller’s richly woven tapestry of the lives affected by the Wall Street Crash in 1929 sits uncomfortably close to our own recent past” Mary Halton, Stagewon.

“It takes a keen eye to spot the potential for revival and reassessment in a new production. The Finborough have become one of the premier spots in London for unearthing such gems.” Ought to be Clowns.

“The Finborough Theatre’s inclusion of Arthur Miller’s sweeping Great Depression drama in its Rediscoveries season has ‘timely revival’ written all over it – the resonance smacks you full in the face.” Catherine Love, Fourthwall Magazine.

27 March – 21 April 2012

Tickets and Times

Tuesday 7:30pm
Wednesday 7:30pm
Thursday 7:30pm
Friday 7:30pm
Saturday 3:00pm (from 7 April 2012)
7:30pm
Sunday 3:00pm

Approximately two hours