The Price – Gate Theatre – Review

The Price – Gate Theatre – Review
13th April – 3rd June 2023

Photo credit: Ros Kavanagh

The Price was written by Arthur Miller and first performed in 1968, in New York. It tells the story of two brothers, Victor (Simon Delaney) and Walter Franz (Sean Campion).  Victor is a hard-working, and poorly paid, New York policeman. Walter on the other hand is a successful Doctor and business owner, who at one time owned a chain of nursing homes. The two brothers have fallen out and haven’t spoken in 16 years. Victor has contacted Walter as he’s selling the contents of their father’s apartment as the building is scheduled for demolition. Their father was once a wealthy man but fell on hard times during the Great Depression in the 1930s. When the two brothers meet, they deliver some home truths that have gone unsaid for many years.

The play is set in an old apartment, packed with far too much furniture. It is the detritus of a once well-off family now packed into a small space. The set (by Stuart Marshall) is a carefully crafted space, allowing the actors to move while still giving an air of congestion and overcrowding. The lighting by James McFetridge allows light to stream in from the windows at one side of the stage, giving the impression that the events take place at dusk.

Surprisingly, this play was produced by the Gate Theatre less than ten years ago, in 2014, with Denis Conway and Barry McGovern in the main parts. While it is one of Arthur Miller’s best-known works, it is unusual for it to return so quickly to the same stage.

The play has a collection of set pieces, with the four cast members meeting and discussing various topics. We hear about the Franz family and their unusual upbringing. Grievances from the past are aired and we see how decisions made in the past have impacted the present. The other character of note is Solomon, played by Nicholas Woodeson. He’s a deceptively ancient second-hand furniture salesman, who would struggle to give a straight answer if his life depended on it!

Victor is the main character of the play and the only one on stage throughout. While Simon Delaney is usually associated with more comedic roles, he does well as the policeman with a chip on his shoulder. Abigail McGibbon plays Esther, Victor’s wife, who is an overzealous and demanding woman, unhappy with her lot. The well-to-do doctor Walter, played by Sean Campion, gives off an air of simple sophistication, he is aloof and occasionally arrogant. Nicholas Woodeson’s performance as Solomon is a particular highlight, as he offers pathos along with comic touches!

While it is not Miller’s finest work, it does contain some complex characters, and this impressive production draws out the finer points of each. The first act offers some light relief as Victor reminisces on his past, while he battles with the wise-cracking Solomon. In the second act, we become embroiled in a heated argument, as the two brothers tell their versions of what occurred. Filial duty, responsibility, and respect are queried and dissected. The audience is asked to pick sides in this battle of wits, which is more complex than Victor initially suggests. The climax is quite intense as we hear the intricacies of each version of reality. The truth, as is so often the case, lies somewhere in between.


Sean Campion is Walter
Simon Delaney is Victor
Abigail McGibbon is Esther
Nicholas Woodeson is Solomon

Creatives & Crew
Written by Arthur Miller

Directed by Conleth Hill
Set Designer: Stuart Marshall
Costume Designer: Sinead Cuthbert
Lighting Designer: James McFetridge
Sound Designer: Adrienne Quartly
Voice and Dialect Coach: Patricia Logue
Production Manager: Pete Jordan
Stage Manager: Emma Doyle
Assistant Stage Manager: Méabh Crowe
Hair and Makeup Artist: Sarah McCann
Costume Dresser: Sarah Higgins
Men’s Tailor: Denis Darcy
Women’s Tailor: Denise Assas
Set Construction: Theatre Production Services
Scenic Artist: Sandra Butler
IADT Placement, Set Design: Jamie Grant Duggan

Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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