A View from the Bridge (Oxford)
10 October 2012 WOS Rating: Miller’s play is a bleak study in the battle between man’s sense of morality and his primal passions. Eddie Carbone is a hardworking longshoreman, living with his wife and teenage niece in Brooklyn. He prides himself on his social standing within his neighbourhood, his ability to provide for his family and his position as a working man. His life is settled and without incident; at least on the surface. In reality, his niece has grown into a young woman who wishes to make her mark on the world and get a job, his wife is missing his attentions in the marital bed, and the arrival of his wife’s cousins from Sicily causes his well ordered world to unravel. At some point Eddie’s sense of love and responsibility toward the daughter of his wife’s sister has mutated into feelings far more sinister. He is unable to come to terms with her burgeoning womanhood, disliking her short skirts, high heels and the way she’s “walking wavy”. What the audience can see but Eddie’s moral compass wont allow his to admit is that he has transferred his affections from his wife Beatrice to his niece, Catherine. When Catherine forms a romantic relationship with Rodolpho, the younger of the two cousins, Eddie’s jealousy takes over, inevitably leading to the tragic events which close the play. A View from the Bridge is an intense and complex play and rarely have I seen such material handled with the sensitivity and maturity offered by this young all-student company. Becca Kinder’s direction shows a real understanding of the elements of the play and she is served extremely well by a fine cast. Barney White’s portrayal of Eddie is a compelling and multi-layered performance which one would expect of an actor of much greater years; this is a young actor who shows tremendous promise. Lauran Hyett and Marie Findlay, as Beatrice and Catherine respectively, provide equally convincing performances and manage to convey the age of their characters with subtlety and integrity. Ed-Barr-Sim’s Alfieri is a very competent performance but is a little undermined by the youthful looks of the actor; Alfieri is in effect the greek chorus narrating this tragedy and should have a sense of world-weariness and experience which this actor was unfortunately unable to capture.
The cast as a whole did justice to Miller’s play and with the exception of a few lighting hitches and a couple of crowd scenes which require firmer direction, I thought that the production was excellent and the company should be congratulated on a compelling and deeply moving show.
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