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 The Theatreguide.London Review

The Price
Wyndham's Theatre Spring 2019

It wasn't just the economy that was damaged by the 1930's crash. Whole families were disrupted  and fractured by those terrible events, as Arthur Miller's play The Price explores in a remarkably fine production directed by Jonathan Church in a transfer from the Theatre Royal Bath.

In a very cluttered attic two brothers meet for the first time in many years to discuss the disposal of their dead parents' furniture. Both have been deeply traumatised by the Great Depression, which wiped out their parents' fortune and shaped the choices they made in life.

Both are troubled by guilt and resentment over those choices, in part blaming each other. Walter tried to avoid the terror of ever being caught up in anything similar to his parents' disaster by an ambitious, even selfish pursuit of power and wealth. He is now a wealthy doctor.

Victor clung onto his family, turning away from a world he didn't any longer trust. Despite their anger both men care deeply about each other and struggle to make some kind of peace.

The actors are all extraordinarily good in what is a tight and confident show. Brendan Coyle gives Victor a stolid weariness in the way he walks, a certainty in his voice and sudden flashes of warmth in his eyes. Adrian Lukis as Walter is constant restless energy, his manner reflecting the arrogance of a man used to getting his way. Sara Stewart is Esther, the assertive and practical wife of Victor.

But in what is a stunning production audiences will remember most the wit, physicality and comic timing of David Suchet, whose hilarious performance as the furniture dealer Gregory Solomon has the entire audience laughing continuously.

Miller was wise to find a dramatic reason for keeping him off the stage in the second half to ensure it didn't simply become the Solomon show. It is difficult to imagine this part ever being acted better.

However Solomon isn't just a comic interlude, entertaining though he is, for he also has had his troubles. The accidental phone call that brought him to the attic room has given him at the age of 89 a new lease of life, reminding us that the blows that damage our lives do not need to forever imprison us.

Keith McKenna

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Review -  The Price - Wyndhams Theatre 2019
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