BWW Review: THE PRICE, Wyndham's Theatre
Arthur Miller is certainly popular this season, with The Price currently at the Wyndham's Theatre, The American Clock and All My Sons both at the Old Vic in the next few weeks, and Death of a Salesman due to open in May at the Young Vic. Miller productions are all the rage in London right now!
While not as well-known as Miller's other plays, The Price is a powerful family drama which builds gradually over time. The tension simmers just below the surface until it reaches boiling point - it's a delicate balancing act which director Jonathan Church masters.
It tells the story of Victor (Brendan Coyle) and Walter Franz (Adrian Lukis), two estranged brothers who are arranging the sale of belongings from their late father's estate. Walter is a successful doctor and has no need for the money that will come from the sale, while Victor, as a New York Police Officer, and his wife Esther (Sara Stewart) are in a far less secure position financially. Victor arranges for a furniture appraiser to view the items up for sale in the hope of raising some money, particularly important now he's beginning to think of retirement.
Enter the magnificent David Suchet as Gregory Solomon, the playful but endearing furniture dealer who tries to encourage Victor to open up about his personal life. While he is hesitant, Solomon is more than happy to offer an insight into his own life - revealing he was part of the British Navy and that he lost his daughter over 50 years ago.
It is hard not to be in awe of Suchet whenever he is on stage. He revels in Solomon's absurdities, occasionally resulting in corpsing from those around him, and provides some comic relief in what can be a very heavy piece of theatre. Coyle is solid and unapologetic as Victor, refusing any handouts from his wealthier brother and insisting they split everything 50/50. The resentment towards his sibling stems from Walter's successful career as a surgeon, while he joined the Police Force in order to provide and care for his ailing father, who had lost the family's millions.
Lukis' portrayal of Walter is both intimidating and delicate - he is someone who commands respect, and so when he reveals he suffered from a breakdown, the audience is left stunned. It is an unexpected revelation from a man who appears to have a perfect life but does add a touch of humanity to the character. Stewart is also stellar as Victor's wife Esther, who feels that life has passed her by and resents her husband for the lack of money they have. It's a difficult role to play, but one that Stewart excels in.
Simon Higlett's set is beautifully cluttered with furniture packed into every available space in the attic. Chairs, tables and mirrors hang from the walls, creating a visually stunning backdrop to the trauma unfolding on stage between the estranged and angry brothers.
This is a powerful and emotional production thanks to Church's direction and the outstanding actors who bring Miller's characters to life.
The Price at Wyndham's Theatre until 27 April
Photo Credit: Nobby Clark