A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE Arthur Miller.
Theatre Royal: Tkts 0115 989 5555 www.royalcentre-nottingham.co.uk.
Touring Information: Touring Consortium Theatre Company.
Runs: 2h 15m: one interval: till 7th March.
Performance times: 7.30pm, (Matinees 2.00pm Thurs and 2.30pm Sat).
Review: Alan Geary: 4th March 2015.
Miller near his best; and a production that does it justice.
Arthur Miller wrote naturalistically about the lives of recognisably ordinary people, but he frequently invested their story with the grandeur of classical tragedy. In everyday terms A View From the Bridge, set on the Brooklyn waterfront in the early fifties, is about an Italian-American longshoreman and his struggling household, and a couple of illegal immigrants who come to stay with them.
Miller sympathises with his characters – and pities them. And such is the power of his story, the range and richness of his text and the depth of his characterisation that he forces us to do so too.
As Eddie Carbone, the complex protagonist, Jonathan Guy Lewis is excellent. He captures Eddie’s sexual insecurity, his inferiority feelings, and progressive jealousy with deftness and sensitivity. And he makes the male kissing scene powerful. At the end his fall is the tragic fall of a king.
Wife Beatrice, wise, long-suffering and sexually frustrated, is beautifully done by Teresa Banham. And, as her niece Catherine, Daisy Boulton is exactly right – very young looking and not inappropriately glamorous. She successfully develops Catherine from an immature seventeen-year-old to an assertive young woman.
As the illegal immigrants, Philip Cairns’s Marco, a figure of great pathos, is convincing. But James Rastall’s Rudolpho, with his badly-bleached blonde hair, is too obvious a target for Eddie’s sexual prejudice; he looks stereotypically gay, which is inappropriate.
Italian-American lawyer Alfieri, is well played by Michael Brandon. His are the stateliest and most formal lines in the play; it’s not just a matter of Alfieri’s higher social class – they sound like iambic pentameter. He functions in part as a one-man Greek chorus, commenting on and analysing the fluctuating fortunes of the other characters. Importantly, when Eddie goes to him for legal advice, which is ignored, he’s also an oracle. And, like a god, he enjoys the occasional propitiative offering, like the bottle of Scotch accidently on purpose pilfered from an unloaded cargo.
This production, directed by Stephen Unwin, uses an effective multi-location set. It’s dominated by a tenement building complete with fire escape, which overlooks a derelict stretch of ground, ironically as it turns out, looking towards the Statue of Liberty.
This is Miller certainly near his best.
Mike: John Alistair.
Beatrice Carbone: Teresa Banham.
Catherine: Daisy Boulton.
Alfieri: Michael Brandon.
Marco: Philip Cairns.
First Immigration Officer: Paul Chesterton.
Eddie Carbone: Jonathan Guy Lewis.
Rudolpho: James Rastall.
Louis: Orestes Sophocleous.
Tony: Ben Woodhall.
Director: Stephen Unwin.
Designer: Liz Ashcroft.
Lighting Designer: Paul Pyant.
Sound Designer: John A Leonard.
Fight Director: Kevin McCurdy.