Death Of A Salesman by Arthur Miller
21st, 22nd and 23rd March 2024

Click here for more pictures of this play: To follow

Cast        Production Team
Willy Loman Andrew Rogers   Director Jean Cooper
Linda Karen Rogers   Production Assistant Mel Taylor
Happy Tom Draper   Stage Manager Mel Taylor
Biff Nick Bateman   Assistant Stage Manager Lina Lee
Bernard Nick Charles   Properties Joey Bornman, Sophie Gilbert
The Woman Anjali Johnson   Backstage assistants Laura Pickering, Natalie Hayes
Charley Howard Platt   Continuity Jon Gilbert
Uncle Ben Daryl Kane   Wardrobe Liz Adams, Sylvia Zilesnik
Howard Wagner Christian Mortimer   Set Design Garry Cooper
Jenny Laura Pickering   Set Construction LADS
Stanley Cathal Connolly   Lighting design Terry Tew
Miss Forsythe Sekai Mulwanda   Sound Operation Cathy Naylor
Letta Natalie Hayes   Lighting Operation Meg Larmour
      Sound Design Andrew Rogers
      Programme & Poster Design Howard Platt
      Production Photos Rohini Rajendram

Society : Loughton Amateur Dramatic Society
Production : Death Of A Salesman
Date : 21st March 2024
Venue : Lopping Hall
Report by : Paul Daynes

I sometimes think that plays should follow the way competitive diving grades its dives, with degrees of difficulties. I’m reliably informed that a forward two and a half somersaults with 3 twists from a 3-metre springboard has a 3.9 degree of difficulty, who’d have thought? If this was the case, how, I wonder, would Death of a Salesman or indeed any Arthur Miller play be graded? Fairly high, I venture. I acknowledge Jean’s programme note about the play being ‘a well-written script’ and indeed it is, as thousands of English students will confirm, but to bring this classic to life on stage is a difficult challenge and this team is worthy of great admiration for taking it on. 

This production was good, in fact it was very good! And, like a good dive, was carried out with little or no splash and made to look easy.


Congratulations to Jean Cooper for undertaking this great play. Her programme notes told of a long association with Death of a Salesman and I got the sense that this brought a confidence that familiarity provides.

The positioning of the actors around the stage was thoughtful and well placed. Willy and Linda in the privacy of their bedroom, behind the bed, in the bed and perched on the bed, making good use of this ever-present space. The boys’ bunk beds were sparingly used but made for a good backdrop and reminder of their similar upbringing despite their different characters. The centre table had many uses, as did the table stage right as part of the restaurant and office. The acting zones were well established for the dreams and time changes and the extended stage was utilised by all. The lighting design complemented the setting and, at times, the Lopping Hall stage appeared bigger than it actually is by good use of the space.

The actors did well with the Brooklyn accents, which were always present without being distracting. All the actors were on top of their lines which ensured the audience could relax and concentrate on following the narrative.

The adjustments for the time periods and hallucinations were seen but subtle. Just a mood shift or a lighting change, coupled with the characters changing in voice and style. On occasions, Willy simply stepped forward 2 or 3 steps into the light downstage to take us back in time or the return of the pipes and flutes cued a change. There was a lovely scene in Act 1 where Willy, Bernard and the boys were discussing Biff’s football playing and Happy had the punch ball. There was fun and happiness in the air as the dialogue zipped around and conveyed the optimism of those days.

The transition into the restaurant scene was well choregraphed with the two tables being set for service whilst the action and dialogue continued. I do admire this type of direction, its these little touches that give the production a high quality. The funeral scene was simple and movingly presented, following the horror of the crash. A single line of mourners dressed in black with armbands, Linda on her knees alone with Willy, and the sound of the pipes from the first scene returned. Beautifully crafted.

I came away with the impression that every detail of direction was deliberate and considered, and this control of the presentation made for a well choregraphed play. Good work Jean.


Willy Loman

The 63-year-old Willy Loman is a tragic hero of American literature. A titan of the theatrical world and a familiar character known by many and, as with Shakespeare’s significant roles, it takes courage to tackle this part. Andrew Rogers has been at the top of his game for the last few years, taking on some epic parts and his experience and obvious skill as an actor was put to good use in another first class performance.

The frustration and anger were evident, alongside Willy’s fading realisation of his decline. Lines such as “When did I lose my temper” and “I am Willy Loman” were tragic. Willy’s relationship with Biff was sufficiently complex, full of admiration and despair. With Happy there was more contentment but less ambition 

Andrew made the transitions in time seamlessly. For example, in the scene when the boys were outside cleaning the car, it appeared at first that Willy was not talking to anyone. We then realised what was happening and the appearance of Happy and Biff, with bucket, followed. This considered development of many of the situations were played with confidence and care from Andrew who showed Willy being content in his own company as well as, in the early years, around his family

We saw a successful salesman who didn’t need to ‘wait in line’, but could go ‘straight through’ to the firing of an unwanted employee. Willy’s incredulity of being the one that ‘people don’t take to’ and laughed at, of losing his influence, were painful to witness. Willy’s fall into his own world, with the purchase and planting of the seeds, was accompanied with a lightness and smile to his face that showed further character development. The kneeling and speaking out front to Ben was a poignant moment and a great theatrical picture. Then a few pages later to the angry Willy of  “I’m not a dime a dozen” returned.

With Andrew’s performance we not only got delivery of the great Arthur Miller’s lines, but we also got to see what Willy was thinking. We were taken into Loman’s mind and saw his fall from pride and ultimately the death of the salesman. A terrific performance.


Linda’s welcome of Willy on his first return from the unsuccessful sales trip, was genuine and passionate. She showed her long and sincere love for her husband, despite his fading from grace and his aggression towards her. Linda was often there to massage Willy’s shoulders and prepare his food, even whipped cheese. She apologised for him and made his excuses.

Karen Rogers found a nuanced performance with the differences between Linda back in the day to weary Linda who would remain loyal to Willy despite his behaviour towards her. Her attention to the family expenses was detailed and appeared to give Linda a joy to be on top of things. Linda was Willy’s dependable rock and his mediator between him and the boys. Karen gave us a tough mother trying to keep the family together by telling the boys “You can’t just come to see me”.

Linda and Willy’s relationship was a standout highlight of this play, they worked so well together and found great depth to their understanding of each other. The sadness was seeing this diminish in Willy and grow in Linda. A fine performance Karen, well done.

Happy and Biff

The passage of time was most evident in the two boys. Mannerisms, voice tone and general energy levels were contrasted well between the children and the young men. Tom Draper played Happy slightly more animated than his brother Biff, which gave good contrast. His ambition to be the ‘Merchandising Manager with the downtown apartment and plenty of women’ characterised his limited outlook and Tom did well to tell Hap’s story. Nick Bateman did an excellent job portraying the complex Biff. The athletic, ambitious football player who flunked Math and stole balls and a suit, who was desperate to respect his father but witnessed his seedy affair. Nick’s portrayal of Biff was of one who was never content and searched to impress his fading father. This was clear as Biff listened to Willy’s advice on how to behave at the meeting with Bill Oliver. Nick made it so that Biff was happy and excited to take Willy’s advice but sadly he didn’t have the strength to see the opportunity through. Two great parts portrayed with great skill and understanding.


The starkest contrast between young and old was with the way Nick Charles played Bernard the boy, complete with those shorts, and Bernard the lawyer. It was the same character but matured with the passage of time and the benefit of education. The comparison with Biff was evident and rather sad. His scene where Willy asks “What’s the secret?” was raw and absorbing and the tale of the burning of the sneakers was brutal. Congratulations Nick on a good portrayal.


Willy’s friend Charley, who was disrespected as much as he was needed, was a charming character who enjoyed a game of cards. Howard Platt found an excellent characterisation as he was doing better than Willy but never pushed it onto him. He had the grace to offer Willy a job and bail him out when cash was short without the need to feel superior. I warmed greatly to Charley the way Howard played him and a generous character is much needed for the audience in this intense play 

Uncle Ben

The admiration Willy had for his Uncle Ben was evident and Daryl Kane played the part without malice or arrogance but with words of wisdom for the hopeful Willy. He looked rich and different from the others in the wonderful hat, coat and waistcoat. Always carrying his leather bag as if he was just off somewhere. Daryl played this representation of the American Dream in Willy’s thoughts, with calm power and confidence, always a smile and motivational thoughts. As Ben built property and diamond mines, Willy built up the stoop in front of his house. This was a good portrait of an interesting part and it was great to see Daryl on the Lopping Hall stage.

Howard Wagner

Christian Mortimer made a significant impact on the story as the charismatic son of the founder of Wagners. In a striking light grey suit and matching tie, his mind was distracted by the new recording machine and what it could do. This was more important to him than the wellbeing of his employee of 34 years. Perched on the table with Willy sat below Howard, it was clear who was in charge and when he told Willy he needs “a good long rest” we felt Howard had shattered Willy’s world.

The Woman, Jenny, Stanley, Miss Forsythe, Letta

Anjali Johnson gave a good cameo as The Woman lit with the red light down stage right and the blues music, to the hotel bedroom, and all for some nylons. Laura Pickering’s Jenny, Natalie Hayes’ Letta, Sekai Mulwanda’s Miss Forsythe with her manicured hairstyle, were all strong cameos that brought interesting characters to the play and enabled the others to react with and against them. Cathal Connolly brought a lightness with Stanley the waiter that provided some smiles to the restaurant scene.

Set Design

An impressionistic set, simple and understandable, working in unison with the lighting. The blue and grey colours gave it a theme. The window frames overlooking from on high and the artwork of bricks and fire escapes on the flat downstage left illustrating the line and sentiment, “The way they boxed us in here. Bricks and windows, windows and bricks”. The free-standing door was put to good use as the actors deliberately walked around to the outside to come back through it. The exits from both bedrooms upstage were useful without being obvious. The double bed and bunk beds were away from the action space but gave the background of this home. Good to see period sheets and blankets used.


All the characters looked striking with period clothes. Linda’s wig was large with the grey showing through. Linda also donned a striking green coat. Seamed stockings for Linda and others were a nice detail and the three-piece suits for the men fitted well and looked fantastic, especially Howard Wagner’s light grey and Charley’s brown stripped. The shoes matched and the homburg hats set the time and place.

Sound and Lighting

The pipes and flutes of melancholic incidental music floated as a background around some of the scenes. For Willy’s first entrance the music had a sense of mystery even haunting, giving an air of appropriate unease rather than relaxing the audience. These pipes and flutes hung over the play returning at the end for the funeral.

A full rig of lights appeared to have been in operation and Terry Tew’s experience and knowledge of Lopping Hall showed in a tremendous design. It’s great to see Terry still involved with LADS and Lopping Hall, it must be over 40 years now Terry? This design added much to the play and enabled the audience to track the changes of time with little conscious effort.


I was really impressed by this production and, in a recent run of quality plays, Death of a Salesman was a standout. I’m sure everyone had to work hard to make this great but challenging play such a success, but for your audience that hard work was worthwhile. A leap from the high board may have a high degree of difficulty, but when it all comes together, the sense of achievement should be richly enjoyed.

Paul Daynes
NODA Regional Representative London District 6