Life

Tuesday 23 September 2014

The Price is right for Gate

Kirsty Blake Knox and Bairbre Power

Published 06/07/2014 | 02:30

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Stepping out: broadcast veteran Gay Byrne and his wife Kathleen Watkins

Broadway legend Lewis Stadlen had the audience in stitches at the opening night of The Gate Theatre's staging of Arthur Miller's The Price.

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Stadlen plays the part of 89-year-old Jewish junk merchant Solomon – who has chutzpah in spades.

"It was all a bet, you know," Lewis told me after the show. "Somebody told Miller he was incapable of writing comedy, the character of Solomon was his response. I think he won the bet."

Silver fox Marty Whelan was certainly impressed with the comic turns and timing. "Who knew Miller was so funny?" Whelan asked in the backstage reception room.

Marty has just returned from the Venetian waterways where he spent his time scooting around in a gondola.

"I even asked the gondolier to sing the Cornetto song O Sole Mio," he said. "I'm such a cliché." Don't be so hard on yourself, Marty.

Gay Byrne arrived with wife Kathleen Watkins, and British Ambassador Dominick Chilcott bemoaned England's poor performance in the World Cup.

Director Patrick Mason spent the evening chatting to writer Hugo Hamilton – the pair are teaming up on nautical drama The Mariner.

Restaurateur Robbie Fox, president of the High Court Nicholas Kearns and author Claudia Carroll also milled about the place.

"It is one of Miller's lesser-staged plays but a piece of genius," director of The Gate Michael Colgan said. "The audience laughed in all the right places and the air conditioning worked – what more do you want?"

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