David Suchet tapped into his Lithuanian ancestry for role in Arthur Miller’s The Price

David Suchet drew on his ancestral roots for his part as a Russian-Jewish furniture dealer in a West End reboot of Arthur Miller’s The Price.

The Poirot actor, 72, plays 89-year-old Gregory Solomon in the 1968 story about estranged brothers who come together to sell their parents’ estate.

The fictional Solomon was born in Kretinga, a former part of the Russian empire in Lithuania, and the same town where Suchet’s Jewish great-great-great-grandfather lived. Suchet, who made the discovery on the BBC One show Who Do You Think You Are?, said the connection made him understand the character.

After press night at Wyndham’s Theatre in Covent Garden, he told the Standard: “I knew that the background is exactly the same as my great-great-great-grandfather’s. I remember going to a village called Kretinga to see where they all grew up and where they left because they wanted a new life in South Africa.

“It’s a joy to play by tapping into what I know from my family’s past.”

Suchet’s co-star, Brendan Coyle, said he researched New York’s past for the character of Victor Franz, a police sergeant. The 55-year-old Downton Abbey star said: “I did do a lot of research about the ‘29 crash, I had these amazing training videos from the NYPD in 1968 and I have 1950s jazz playing in my dressing room so we can tune into the sense and sensibility of the piece.”