The Price is another Arthur Miller classic, with an excellent production put on by Circa Theatre.
It’s s small cast of just four, focusing on the relationship between two estranged brothers who have had no contact for 16 years. They finally come together to dispose of their long dead father’s possessions, which have been in storage for 16 years. The planned destruction of his old building has meant their shared history is resurrected, in a tense dramatic performance.
Photo by Stephen A’Court
Victor and Walter Franz are brothers, played by Gavin Rutherford and Christopher Brougham respectively. Victor is a poorly paid police officer whose wife resents their modest means. He was a gifted science student, but never had the opportunity to do tertiary education as he was caring for and supporting his father.
Walter is the seemingly successful brother, a fabulously wealthy doctor. The reasons for his estrangement with Victor are only hinted at initially, but laid out in the second act.
Jude Gibson played Victor’s wife Esther. She is almost ashamed of her husband’s lowly paid job, and doesn’t like him wearing his police uniform when off duty as it tells everyone how much he earns.
Finally you have what was for me the star of the show, Ray Henwood at the 89 year old Jewish antique dealer. Henwood was fantastic, and his performance alone is worth seeing the show for. A comedy delight.
All four cast played their roles well, with each character having sympathetic and unsympathetic traits. Your views on them change as the show goes on. The only slight negative was that the relationship between Victor and Esther wasn’t clear at the beginning, and you spend a fair bit of time trying to work it out.
The first half of the show, as is often the case, wasn’t as captivating as the second half. It made up for that with plenty of laughs from Ray Henwood’s character. There was also some added drama with a noticeable earthquake during the first half. Let me tell you a crowded theatre is not a nice place to be during an earthquake. The cast however just carried on with barely a pause, as the audience turned pale and started to look wistfully at the exits. Luckily the quake was relatively brief.
The second half is where the conflict is laid out in full, and there are twists and turns you don’t expect. The ending is a good one, albeit not the one I expected.
The Price is on until 7 September. If you like Arthur Miller’s other plays, you’ll like this one also.