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The Price

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

The Price

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 24 July 2010

Life is full of choices that come with a price. This is the thread of Arthur Miller’s rarely performed study of two brothers attempting to settle the chattels of their late father’s life and their own troubled relationship.

*A gifted writer but controversial man, with his outward humanitarian enthusiasm, his three marriages, including to Marilyn Monroe and his institutionalising/neglecting his Down’s syndrome son till just before he died,* Miller wrote this play as a powerful and emotional journey through how people react, what they know and how they deal with others.

The brothers – one, almost-retired cop, short of cash and indecisive (handled sensitively by Richard Mann); second, older, successful yet flawed, (a masterful interpretation by the always worth watching, John Mangan) – face two antagonists, besides each other. The cop’s wife (Judi Daykin, a bit subdued), pushy yet crushed, and the furniture dealer, (John Hare, a superb Shylock-like elderly wide-boy, who mined every nugget of humour in the text).

It is not comfortable to watch, but the past isn’t a total joy, and the cast work hard to draw the audience in to their fragile peace, their hurt still visible. *Direction is cramped round a central chair, but as challenging, unusual period drama still relevant, this is a strong contribution to what’s on in Norwich now*.

NOTE: The sections between *    * not published in the review in EDP, sub-edited out, lack of space!

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