I had never heard of The Price by Arthur Miller until being asked to review it so I had few preconceptions. The stage was set as a cross between The Old Curiosity Shop and Bargain Hunt; inauspicious for some but I was intrigued. There was antique furniture piled high and chairs hanging from the rafters.
The start was performed well: Victor wandering alone, on stage, picking through the remainder of his father’s possessions and relics of his childhood. It was poignant and sensitively acted. His relationship with Ester his wife was a typical loving/nagging dichotomy.
However, I felt myself drifting off in parts. In no way the fault of the actors but the nature of Miller’s writing. At some points, dare I say it, it became tedious. It is a long play and with only four characters and one set it is difficult to remain absorbed. The themes of money, family and responsibility were compelling but they were discussed so many times that it felt like the characters were repeating themselves.
The issue of money was integral to the characters’ connections with one another. The Great Depression still impacts on this family despite being set in the 1960s. Money is undoubtedly one of the main concerns of our time and theirs. We cannot escape articles about the credit-crunch or money saving tips, but was this topicality the reason for the Playhouse staging ‘The Price’? It feels like overload in our current climate. This is definitely one for fans of Miller as the production was faultless but bleak for those of us feeling the effects of the credit-crunch.
‘The Price’ runs until 28th March.