Arthur Miller’s The Price may not be the best known play from the American playwright; however it deals with those issues that define Miller as a truly great writer. His ability to dissect relationships, assess the cost of human sacrifice alongside the multifaceted complex nature of family dynamics and loss.
The question Miller poses in this excellent play is what exactly is the price? It is a monetary value placed on a deceased father’s belongings, the price of giving up a career to support a family member or the cost of being single minded, ambitious and forsaking all others for personal success.
Here we meet Gregory Solomon, a used furniture dealer who arrives at the childhood home of brothers, Victor and Walter Franz. Victor is now a New York cop, Walter is a successful surgeon. Expecting to simply arrange a financial deal, Solomon finds both brothers meeting for the first time in sixteen years.
David Suchet as Solomon dominates the play with theatrical perfection. It is a masterclass in acting with each nuance embodying the Jewish octogenarian with utter conviction. Suchet has a luminous presence, when he is off stage the pace dips and the dialogue becomes routine; it is an extraordinary performance.
Brendan Coyle (Victor Franz) and Adrian Lukis (Walter Franz) are the bitter brothers trying to make sense of their lives and the subsequent sixteen year silence. Sara Stewart (Esther Franz) is the barometer of Victor’s life wishing for more and wanting a retirement for Victor that will release him from a life of duty and the restrictions that has placed on her dreams.
The design from Simon Higlett is an intriguing vision of the past both suffocating and potentially crushing the brothers, it is equally well lit by Paul Pyant.
This is a good example of a lesser known piece receiving a revival; 50 years since its original production it has barely aged. The financial references may give it away but the brutal realities of humanity and family relationships ensure that is as relevant now as then.