A View From The Bridge was written around the same time as Arthur Miller’s more famous play on the Salem witch-hunts, The Crucible. But in contrast A View From The Bridge has as its central character a man who cannot help himself breaking social and familial taboos. He is a longshoreman called Eddie Carbone, a middle-aged man in a childless marriage, who has with his wife Beatrice brought up his dead sister’s daughter, Catherine.
Alex Giannini brings a slow-burning intensity to Eddie, convincingly giving us a character who starts almost as a figure of fun in his fussy concern for Catherine, but into whom, in Alfieri’s words, ‘passion moved ... like a stranger’. He is well supported by Francesca Ryan’s world-weary Beatrice and Amy Loughton’s sparky Catherine. Andrew Grose brings a level of taciturn menace to the older brother Marco, and Oliver Farnworth’s flighty Rodolpho especially impresses as Eddie’s rival and opposite. Lastly, Robert Whelan’s Alfieri brings an air of resigned regret to his recounting of Eddie’s story.
Director Stefan Escreet wisely supports Alfieri’s narration – which attempts to make sense of Carbone’s tragedy, to find a ‘view from the bridge’ of it, by populating the Brooklyn streets and tenements with local amateur volunteers. These non-speaking spectators – as well as Rowe David McLelland and Dominic Gately as friendly longshoremen - help to give a sense of the community whose code Eddie breaks.
Martin Johns’ design builds on this ensemble, cleverly using the revolve to show us how closely linked house and street are to the Brooklyn tenements and cranes which bound Eddie’s life and death. All of this adds up to a solid production of a classic play, building to a heart-rending climax at its end.