BWW Reviews: THE PRICE at ACT is Worth Paying
OK, so we'll start off with the fact that it's an Arthur Miller piece. One of the greatest storytellers of our time and ACT's current production of "The Price" is a shining example of that. But add into the genius of Miller a killer set, sizzlingly intense pacing and a stunner of a cast and ACT has an absolute winner of a show that deserves to be seen and savored.
To begin with we have Miller's very basic American working class folks with Victor and Esther Franz (Charles Leggett and Anne Allgood). Victor's a cop with almost 30 years on the beat and getting ready to retire and now he and his wife are attempting to sell off the furniture in Victor's late father's attic before the building is torn down. And even though Gregory Solomon (Peter Silbert), the charming old furniture dealer is ready to name a price and make a deal, the arrival of Victor's successful brother Walter (Peter Lohnes) may add a wrinkle to the sale, as he seems to have designs of his own. Designs not only on the furniture but also on Victor's future.
It's Miller so you can of course expect family secrets to be revealed and lots and lots of emotional bubble-ups. But director Victor Pappas has not only assembled a superb cast but has crafted the build of intensity in the story and the arc of the characters so finely that you don't see the emotional baseball bat to the head coming until it's right about to hit. And I have to mention Robert Dahlstrom's gorgeous set. Sure it's an attic filled with furniture but it's so perfectly and practically appointed that not one ounce of space doesn't lend itself to the continued flow of the play. And how many sets have a ceiling? This one does, aided by some brilliant lighting from Alex Berry.
Furthermore we could not ask for a better quartet of seasoned, finely honed actors who are (thank the Gods) all completely present and listening to each other. It may sound like an obvious thing but, trust me, is not always there and crucial in a show like this. Allgood once again turns in a searing performance as the wife who's longing for something better. Lohnes as the somewhat duplicitous brother walks that very fine line between hiding a secret and cartoon villain and manages it with aplomb. So much so that when his secrets and motives do finally come out that you're not sure if he's wrong or right. Leggett as our trod upon hero has never been better. His vulnerability mixed with a quiet strength is a joy to behold which makes his story all the more tragic. And I would say Silbert kept stealing the show with his hilariously rich and complex character except that the rest of the cast was right there to steal it right back.
It's just a complete beauty of a show and does total honor to Miller and his work. With my three letter rating system I tend to reserve the WOW rating for those shows that completely blow my drawers off. And while excellent, this didn't quite get there. Yet the YAY rating seems insufficient so I'm going to go for a YAY+ on this one. In any respect, it's one you should see.
"The Price" performs at ACT through June 22nd. For tickets or information contact the ACT box office at 206-292-7676 or visit them online at www.acttheatre.org.