★★★★ | The Price
There is a price to pay for everything in life, and in the new play The Price, this is true.
Now playing at Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End, one of Arthur Miller’s least known plays is a study of two brothers who have not spoken to each other in 16 years yet each has their demons, each have paid a price for decisions they had made in life. Brothers Victor (Brendan Coyle) and Walter Franz (Andrian Lukis) have not seen each other for 16 years since their father passed away. During this time, Victor has kept dozens of his parents pieces of furniture in his attic, and he’s decided to get rid of them. So he asks 89-year old appraiser Gregory Solomon (a wonderful and definite Olivier Award in this role for David Suchet) into the home he shares with his wife Ester (Sara Stewart). Solomon is a Miller character, and Suchet injects his character with such panache, humour and vulnerability that it’s a master class of acting.
Meanwhile, Walter suddenly shows up, having not returned any, any of Victors’ phone calls over the years. And, yes, there has been a price in not returning those phone calls, and we learn that Victor paid an even bigger price by remaining at home to care for his father when he was getting sicker and sicker. And all Ester wants is to have enough money to be comfortable, and as the going gets rough between the two brothers, Solomon offers a price for the furniture. Is the price a good one? Is there a price for being a responsible son, versus one who flies the coop and becomes successful? All of this drama takes place with the backdrop of the great depression in their past.
The Price, which was written in 1968, is about estranged brothers facing up to the lasting effect of the Depression on their family three decades on. It’s also about not reaching your dreams, and family conflict. The set, where dozens of pieces of furniture are literally hanging on the side of a wall (by Simon Higlett), is genius. Also genius is the acting. Suchet is superb, and Coyle is at ease as the brother who may or may not have been manipulated by his sick father. Under the direction of Jonathan Church, The Price is worth the price of a ticket.
The Price is playing at the Wyndham Theatre until Saturday, April 27th. Book tickets here