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And Then There Were None

Price (Manchester)

By • West End
WOS Rating:
Arthur Miller's characters never inhabit a mere stereotypical shell, thus they thrill the audience as his superb writing also takes the audience on a journey of twists and turns.

The Price, first staged in 1968 is no different. Two estranged brothers meet to go through their late father's belongings. Victor is a humble and loyal police sergeant who has stuck by his father through the good and the bad times. Walter is a wealthy, successful surgeon who has stayed away in order to live out his ambitions.

In a cramped New York apartment, the two siblings re-live their past, each recalling a different version of events. Victor, near retirement, awaits a price for the contents of his father's life. Enter Soloman, the Russian Jewish émigré; a true survivor who picks through the belongings as his calculator-like brain works overtime. Like much of Miller's work, this fascinating play focuses on the themes of the family, the sins of the father and how a son's devotion can blind him, thus quashing hopes and dreams.

This vivid piece is illuminated even more as we now inhabit a consumerist society where shopping is a form of religion and the price of everything is openly flaunted and worn like a medal. Post 9/11, this play has further resonance showing the butterfly effect of how a major event can damage the life of an 'ordinary Joe'.

The four excellent performers explore the layers of fragility that Miller's characters so often display. David Fleeshman's Solomon with his crab like movements and funny anecdotes is a turn to savour. Sue Jenkins plays Victor's sympathetic but shrewd wife with a longing sense of equilibrium. She enables the audience to feel sympathy for this 'lost' woman who simply does not understand her humble but naïve husband. Stuart Milligan has a hard task as Walter, who is at once cold and astute, yet full of regret. He does a remarkable job. Rolf Saxon's New York cop is an everyman beaten down by the rat race - he is the tortoise to his brother's hare. The actor explores the decency of the character but also conveys the secrets and lies that he shoulders. He portrays his repressed anger chillingly well.

In February 2005, the world lost a truly legendary playwright. Chris Honer 's brilliant production offers audiences proof that Arthur Miller's work is timeless and remains utterly compelling.

- Glenn Meads


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