The late, great playwright Arthur Miller passed away a year ago but his classic plays still live on and always garner a huge dedicated army of theatre-goers. A View From The Bridge is currently playing in Bolton as part of a mini season alongside Broken Glass, which opens in March. With one of the legendary playwright's last plays Resurrection Blues about to begin at the Old Vic in London, now is as a good a time as any to catch two of his timeless productions.
Set in 1950's Brooklyn, we follow Miller's protagonist, Eddie Carbone, as he endeavours to protect his niece, Catherine. Extremely proud of his Italian-American community and working class roots, Eddie's behaviour starts to become more obsessive, almost suffocating his ward and damaging his reputation within his home and workplace at the docks. Devoted wife Bea struggles to find a resolution to her husband's spiralling self destructive behaviour, quietly warning her niece to leave the family home. The arrival of two Italian immigrants - one of them making a play for Catherine's affections - means that Eddie has to unravel the blurred reality between family loyalty and his version of 'fatherhood.'
Hannah Clark's concrete set evokes the cold, harsh world that Eddie inhabits. Andy Smith's haunting sound effects and Ivan Stott's unforgiving jazz soundtrack are also extremely evocative as they provide the feeling that there is no easy way out for these characters.
Of the performers, Freya Copeland is excellent as Beatrice as she shoulders Eddie's pain and enables the audience to understand why she is loyal to him even when totally disagreeing with his actions. Catherine Kinsella is superb as a girl on the verge of womanhood, stunted by the undying, unhealthy love of her uncle. James Kristian and Craig Rogan bring humour and a looming sense of threat and discomfort to Eddie's all-encompassing world.
Damian Myerscough is at times funny, threatening, and tragic, as the lead character. The wonderful thing about his performance is that the audience, like Bea, sympathise with him at every turn - even though we can see how his decisions affect the lives of all around him.
The questions Miller raises are extremely relevant and director Mark Babych has crafted such a stunningly passionate production that the writer himself would be extremely proud. Utterly unmissable.