A View From The Bridge – Civic Theatre, Darlington
Posted by: The Reviews Hub – Yorkshire & North East
Writer: Arthur Miller
Director: Stephen Unwin
A View from the Bridge is currently undergoing a major revival, with the multi nominated, award winning version playing at the National Theatre. This version from the Touring Consortium Theatre Company is (thanks to the Arts Council) showing at the Darlington Civic and six other regional theatres; and if it hasn’t won an award yet, it must surely do so soon.
The bridge is Brooklyn, a symbolic entry point into America for the Sicilian immigrants in the play, yet one they are never to cross.
Jonathan Guy Lewis plays Eddie Carbone, who starts the show a hard working family man but falls into despair from his over familiar feelings for his niece Catherine (Daisy Boulton) and her desire to marry the “unsuitable” Rodolpho (James Rastall). His obsession and pride are at the root of his unravelling, leading him to risk everything and face losing those who once loved him.
The story begins with Alfieri, played by Michael Brandon, breaking the 4th wall and explaining to the audience that he is a Lawyer and an Italian and that he is “inclined to notice the ruin in things” and “watch them run its bloody course”. He sits at his desk on the edge of the stage watching the show, allowing the events to unfold before his eyes, powerless to interfere.
Cabones wife Beatrice, wise, long-suffering and sexually frustrated, is portrayed perfectly by Teresa Banham; and niece Catherine, Daisy Boulton is exactly right – very young and innocent, oblivious to her Uncles feelings.
Miller’s narration is delivered with clarity and precision as well as some humour, dealing with uncomfortable topics and addressing the boundaries of love in a very intimate and intense way. The play is full of suggestion, all of which is played out in the audiences’ minds rather than addressed directly. But Philip Cairns is chillingly silent and still in a very well-measured performance as Marco and Rastall is enthusiastic without overplaying his differences as Rodolpho.
The whole performance is dark, Eddies descent to madness helped not only by the phenomenal acting of all on stage, but the simple and effective set designed by Liz Ascroft and the lighting, designed by Paul Pyant.
Written in 1955, A View from the Bridge is inspired by Miller’s knowledge of Italian-American families, gathered during his time as shipyard worker in Brooklyn as a young writer. This empathy and in-depth research is crucial to the success of the play’s plot, on the face of it a simple tale of a patriarch unable to come to terms with a young woman reaching adulthood.