Touring Consortium Theatre Company delivers Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge with a powerful punch.
Set in 1950’s New York among the docks and shipyards under Brooklyn Bridge, it depicts the grinding poverty of the longshoremen and the tensions and anxieties that arise within their fiercely competitive, yet fiercely loyal, Italian-American community.
When Eddie Carbone takes Marco and Rodolpho - two illegal immigrants - into the home he shares with his wife, Bea, and Catherine, his niece, his world begins to fall apart. The developing relationship between Catherine and Rodolpho throws Eddie into increasing turmoil, as it opens a can of uncomfortably writhing worms.
This is a classic tragedy, in which the inherent emotional weaknesses that lurk beneath the outward show of macho strength serve as a ticking time-bomb, ineluctably leading to a messy and explosive conclusion. However, the questions of whether, and to what extent, Eddie has inappropriate feelings for Catherine and whether he is right in his conviction that Rodolpho is merely using her to gain US citizenship, are less conclusive. As Eddie struggles to reconcile certain facts with his own personalised fiction, the audience is also invited to decide where the truth, and their sympathies, might lie.
With much talk at the moment of Ivo van Hove’s acclaimed pared-back production, this company chose a more traditional route. In front of a back-drop showing the Statue of Liberty – here an ironic reminder of the American Dream – the leaning telegraph poles, the fire-escapes and the caged balconies of the tenements, frame the shabby furniture of the Carbone’s living room and bedroom beyond and connect the events indoors very clearly to their external environment.
Within this realistic setting, a sterling cast play it from the heart. Jonathon Guy Lewis is the stand-out act of the night, as he puts in a heartbreakingly powerful performance as Eddie. He is backed every step of the way by Daisy Boulton as Catherine and Teresa Banham as long-suffering wife Bea. Philip Cairns is a commanding presence as the strong and often silent Marco, while James Rastall is suitably cheeky, fresh and adorable as Rodolpho.
Runs until 2nd May