The Price

by ARTHUR MILLER

Reviewed by SHAUN TRAYNOR

Even as I write, this show is selling out. No wonder! It is a heart-warming, charming, very funny, sad-as-well, after-death comedy.

It’s about two brothers who meet again after many years to dispose of their dead father’s possessions. The brother who arrives first is easy-going and not avaricious. He looks around the old place, lots of nostalgia, then his wife enters and she tells him in no uncertain terms to get a good price. She then leaves him to deal with the dealer.

The dealer arrives – Warren Mitchell – dressed and acting like the ultimate caricature Jewish dealer and price-fixer. There are truly hilarious exchanges as the Warren Mitchell character sizes up the situation, gets to know his adversary, finally goes in for the kill and offers an amount of money.

The first brother agrees because he isn’t really interested in money and the dealer is delighted. He begins to count out the money. Just at that very moment – and as we all expected – the second brother arrives, rich, successful, very much into money.

Solomon, the dealer, stops counting. He has to start the palaver all over again. The price isn’t right. Then first brother’s wife arrives and Solomon has to start yet again, explaining, wheedling... it’s terrific fun.

But behind the mirth there is a lifetime of estrangement to come to terms with and this is when the play darkens and becomes deeply moving. It could any of us. Go to see it as a pre-Christmas treat.

Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn High Rd. NW6; Box Off 020 7328 1000
Mon-Sat 8pm. Mats: Wed 2pm. Sat 4pm. Until Dec. 7th.2002.