It’s pretty fair to say that playwright Arthur Miller doesn’t do frivolous melodrama. A fine example of this is his American-style Greek tragedy A View From The Bridge. Set in 1950’s Brooklyn, the play follows the lives of working-class dockworker Eddie Carbone, his wife Beatrice and seventeen year old niece Catherine. As the piece opens, the Carbone family are busy preparing for the arrival of Bea’s illegal immigrant cousins, Marco and Rudolfo. The plot develops quickly from love, devotion and family honour to betrayal and revenge with devastating and shattering consequences.
The cast is led by Ken Stott as Eddie, giving an outstanding performance. As the protagonist of the piece, Stott is truly captivating in his portrayal of the somewhat complex Eddie. He is supported by American actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as wife Bea, giving a powerhouse performance and stealing the show with her authenticity and dramatical flair. Hayley Atwell on the other hand doesn’t quite sit so comfortably in comparison to Stott and Mastrantonio. At times, she looks almost uncomfortable with her stage direction and although striving to exhibit Catherine’s naivety, her performance is sadly a little underwhelming. Her dramatic scenes towards the end of the piece do however win her some brownie points, but it’s all too little too late. Special plaudits to Gerard Monaco as cousin Marco - muscular and commanding, both in character as well as performance.
Director Lindsay Posner fits the pieces of this jigsaw together beautifully. Piece by piece, layer by layer, the drama unfolds and has the audience’s attention throughout. Christopher Oram’s set is at times distracting with a front wall flying in and out, but is well designed and authentic. Together with Peter Mumford’s atmospheric lighting and Adam Cork’s sound, the mood is set perfectly for Miller’s prolific examination of Eddie Carbone’s incestuous devotion for his niece and the price that is paid for his subsequent actions.
Having recently completed a run at London’s Duke of York’s Theatre, A View From The Bridge now tours to selected UK theatres. A dark, intense and brooding piece of theatre, not without it’s fair share of humour, this theatrical event is a classic that is sure to appease even the most discerning of dramatical palettes.