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The Price review at Theatre Royal Bath – ‘outstanding production of Arthur Miller’s drama’

David Suchet in The Price at Theatre Royal Bath. Photo: Nobby Clark

Jonathan Church, artistic director of Theatre Royal Bath’s summer season, has settled on the 50th anniversary of Arthur Miller’s intricately plotted family drama The Price for this year’s flagship production.

It is an imaginative choice. The caustic relationship between a New York cop and his wealthy surgeon brother mirrors one of Miller’s recurring themes – the need to take responsibility for our own lives – at its most intense.

Miller’s dramatic stratagem is to view the brothers’ conflict through the eye of an outsider – octogenarian antiques dealer Gregory Solomon, called in to value their dead father’s possessions. It is a role taken in the past by the likes of Danny DeVito, Eli Wallach and Warren Mitchell, and here David Suchet brings a marvellously knowing, almost frisky touch to his loquacious dealing technique and understanding of the human condition.

The long-separated brothers are soon-to-retire policeman Victor (played by Brendan Coyle), bitter at sacrificing his college place in order to take care of their father during the Depression, and successful surgeon Walter (Adrian Lukis), who is belatedly in search of his moral compass.

Their irreconcilable hopes are complicated by Victor’s irate wife Esther (Sara Stewart). All four players brilliantly tease out Miller’s metaphor between the price of furniture and the price of life-changing personal decisions.

Designer Simon Higlett’s amazing attic setting has period furniture hanging, claustrophobic-like from the ceiling and walls, and director Church, along with Suchet, makes sure that the wisdom of the Solomon of the play matches that of the Solomon of the Bible.

Verdict
Outstanding production of one of Arthur Miller's greatest plays, reflecting on the lasting impact of the American Depression

Production

Production
The Price
Venue
Theatre Royal Bath
City
Bath
Starts
August 9, 2018
Ends
August 25, 2018
Press night
August 15, 2018
Authors
Arthur Miller
Composer
Matthew Scott
Director
Jonathan Church
Set
Simon Higlett
Lighting
Paul Pyant
Sound
Mike Walker
Technical
Nick Trumble (voice coach)
Stage manager
Neil Hillyer
Production manager
Mark Carey
Cast includes
David Suchet, Brendan Coyle, Adrian Lukis, Sara Stewart
Producer
Theatre Royal Bath Productions
Running time
2hrs 35mins