Everything has a price

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THE complexities of family relations and the consequences of the life choices we make are all explored in the classic Arthur Miller play; The Price.

It has just enjoyed a successful week-long run at Hull Truck Theatre and it is easy to see why the production has received such high acclaim on its travels.

Centred around two estranged brothers Victor and Walter, convincingly played by Colin Stinton and Tom Mannion, The Price explores the underlying sibling tension, jealously and bitterness common in many families.

The action takes place in the attic of a soon-to-be demolished house belonging to the brothers’ deceased father.

As the brothers come together to discuss selling off the family heirlooms, it becomes apparent that it is not just the dusty objects that have a price; each brother paid his own price for the decisions they made in life and are left with irreconcilably different views on the paths they took and the decisions they were ‘forced’ into by circumstance.

At times the play threatens to veer into pretentiousness with moral philosophising and self-indulgent posturing from the two brothers, but at its best, the exchanges between Victor and Walter are thoroughly gripping and the inclusion of a classic comedy character - Kenneth Alan Taylor’s Jewish antique dealer, Gregory Solomon - is inspired.

Solomon serves not only to break up the emotionally heavy exchanges between the two brothers, but in doing so he also opens up deeper questions about their situation in a cleverly subtle way.

Similarly, Victor’s wife Esther, played excellently by Suzan Sylvester, serves as an important mediator throughout the brothers’ ongoing dispute and helps prevent the play from becoming an intellectually draining two-hour long argument.

The acting was faultless throughout, the panoramic set very effective and although challenging at times with its relentless questions about life and what our choices truly say about us, I would certainly recommend The Price as a fine example of why Miller is such a legendary figure in the theatre world. AC