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Review: The Price, at Wyndham’s Theatre

Stunning performances in Arthur Miller’s family drama that follows brothers who are forced to pick over the past, and the attics of their late father’s furniture business

14 February, 2019 — By Howard Loxton

Adrian Lukis and Brendan Coyle in The Price. Photos Nobby-Clark

ARTHUR Miller’s 1968 play sees NYPD cop Victor Franz having to clear the attics where stock of his late father’s furniture business has been stored. His wife is concerned that he get a good price: they can do with the money, but this isn’t just about how much the aged antique dealer he calls in will fork out: it’s about the value of life and the cost of past decisions.

On Simon Higlett’s set a forest of chairs, bedsteads and cupboards hang over the action as the past hangs over the characters. Once wealthy, the family was ruined in the 1929 Crash. Elder brother Walter went to medical school but with money running out Victor joined the police to support his dad. It is 16 years since Walter last made contact, years in which resentments have rankled. Now he turns up.

Victor isn’t good at facing the present but when his brother arrives we see how both men have played out self-assigned roles as accusations reveal untold truths.

David Suchet as antique dealer Gregory Solomon

Jonathan Church’s production is superbly acted. Brendan Coyle is totally convincing as Victor, with just a sense of what he might have been, Adrian Lukis revealing vulnerability behind the successful facade of Walter and Sara Stewart fizzing with the exasperation that drives Esther Franz to drinking.

There is also a stunning performance from David Suchet as a Jewish antique dealer. Gregory Solomon, nearly 90, three-times married, left his Russian shtetl as a boy to tour as an acrobat with the Flying Solomons and served in the British navy before taking up furniture dealing. Is he to be trusted or is he conning Victor?

Suchet is so real and so funny. Just watch him pray over a boiled egg or snap his fingers while counting out banknotes. He knows this character as well as Gregory knows furniture.

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