Review: The Price ***

At Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

this review is a little unfair.

If you didn’t see The Price when it came to Yorkshire in 2003, starring Warren Mitchell, then you might think you have seen a wonderful production here – and you’d be right. It is very strong. For those who saw Mitchell as Gregory Solomon, however, played here by Kenneth Alan Taylor, it will remind you of why he so deserved the Olivier he won for it.

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Try as you might, you won’t be able to put Mitchell out of your mind and it makes Taylor appear to be a weak link. His energetic, scheming Solomon, supposedly almost 90, with an accent that never settles, feels less nuanced and complex than it might be. The performances around him are beautifully judged and David Thacker’s intense production is a multi-layered piece that reveals twists and complex turns at every moment as the lives before us unravel.

Miller’s peerless work is set in the apartment home of the late father of brothers Victor and Walter Franz. Victor hopes to sell the furniture crammed into the room to dealer Solomon. A beat cop who gave up on his dreams of working in science to look after his father, left destitute overnight, Victor waits for his brother who abandoned them to pursue a successful career in medicine. When Walter arrives, the brothers’ hopes and dreams and why they achieved them or failed to, is laid bare on the stage. Forced to accept culpability for the failure of his own life, Tom Mannion plays the wounded Victor as a cornered, confused animal and he is unbearable to watch and impossible not to. At first he seemed to lack the muscularity to play the part, but he is simply a shell of confusion and disappointment. Team him with Mitchell’s Solomon and this production would have reached the stars.

To Apr 30.