Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Price"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2010 by Tony Annicone

"The Price"

by Tony Annicone

The current show at Little Theatre of Fall River is "The Price". "The Price" is the story of estranged brothers, Victor and Walter Franz, brought together by the death of their father, in order to sell his furniture and other effects and takes place in the attic of a soon to be demolished Manhattan Brownstone in 1969. Arthur Miller stages the age old battle of Cain and Abel, brother against brother. Victor is a policeman of limited means; Walter is a successful doctor. Over the years they have grown apart. Walter's success makes Victor feel inadequate. Walter has trouble understanding why Victor refuses to accept his help. The men try to find some understanding, but it is nearly impossible for them to communicate. The show is about family dynamics, the price of furniture and the price of one's decisions and how it affects one's life and decisions made along the way. Gregory Solomon (recall the Biblical King Solomon), the ancient second hand furniture dealer, comes between them and so their buried grudges, regrets and apologias are unearthed. "The Price" is a 1968 play, opened on Broadway on February 7,1968 and ran for 429 performances closing on February 15, 1969. Director Linda Monchik chooses the best people for these roles, creating a terrific dramatic show while doing so.

Linda makes sure the specter of the father hangs over the proceedings with a spotlight on his chair at the close of the show. She is aided in her task by hard working stage manager, Maryann Goulart .The show focuses on a New York cop nearing retirement age, who moves among furniture in an attic of a house marked for demolition. His world is filled with cabinets, desks, a damaged harp, an overstuffed arm chair:the relics of a lost life of affluence he has come to sell. When his estranged brother arrives, the talk ceases to be whether Victor's been offered a fair price for the furniture, the focus becomes the price that one brother paid when his father lost both his fortune and the will to continue. Family secrets come to light in the second act including who is better off in the long run. Dan Tripp commands the stage as Victor. He never leaves the stage during the two act show. Dan displays the hurt and anguish of the brother left behind to care for his father by becoming a cop to earn money to support them. He has wonderful chemistry with the other three performers. Richard Wilbur is dynamic as Walter, the rich brother who lost touch with his sibling and is friendless, lonely and lost amid all his money. He reveals the truth of what happened in the past and Linda makes the tension in these scenes crackle with electricity. The long suffering wife, Esther is well played by Katie van der Sleeson who learns money isn't everything in this world. She does a super job in this role, having to learn all the lines in just a week and a half. Esther feels Walter owes Victor a moral debt. Bob Gillett rounds out the cast as the wily Russian-Jewish antique dealer who wants to make sure the sale goes through. He gives the role the humor it needs and uses an excellent Russian accent. His hard boiled egg eating scene is hilarious and his interjections during the argument are topnotch, too. So for a thought provoking play be sure to catch "The Price".

"The Price" (20 - 30 January)
LITTLE THEATRE OF FALL RIVER
@ The Firebarn, 340 Prospect Street, FALL RIVER MA
1(508)675-1852

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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