It’s not hard to see why the creative team at the Lyceum plumped for The Price as the latest revival by their favourite playwright. Arthur Miller’s last big popular success exploring the unhappy legacy of the Great Depression resonates more than ever at a time of global bust.
The taut domestic drama depicts two estranged brothers brought together to dispose of the family’s possessions when their father’s apartment is scheduled for demolition. Victor Franz (Greg Powrie) gave up a promising career in science to support his father, whose business failed during the crash and has spent years despondently pounding the beat as a cop. His brother Walter (Aden Gillet), meanwhile, carved out a lucrative and successful career for himself as a surgeon.
Victor’s strong sense of moral righteousness at supporting his father to the overall financial detriment of himself and his wife Esther (Sally Edwards) is pitted against the uncompromising self-belief of Walter, a dichotomy that intensifies as the action progresses. Powrie gives a particularly convincing performance as the decent but rather self-righteous Victor, his heartfelt defence of his life’s decisions climaxing in a chilling description of his mother vomiting relentlessly into his father’s hands when the old man declared his bankruptcy. The intensity of the four-hander is mollified by a engagingly comic performance from James Hayes as the ancient antique dealer Gregory Solomon, his finely-tuned pragmatism a refreshing antidote to the pride and intolerance that has ripped this family apart.
Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, until Sat 13 Feb