by Arthur Miller.

Liverpool Playhouse Williamson Square L1 1EL To 19 April 2014.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm except 9 April 5.30pm no performance 18 April Mat Thu 1.30pm Sat 2pm
Audio-described 17 Apr 7.30pm.
Captioned 19 Apr 2pm.
Post-show Discussion 9 Apr.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.

TICKTS: 0151 709 4776.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 5 April.

A View well worth taking.
At the time Arthur Miller was refusing to buckle under pressure from anti-Communist witch-hunts he produced The Crucible (about a witch-hunt) and this 1955 play criticising a man who names people to the authorities. By revealing his wife’s illegal immigrant relatives, or ‘submarines’, Eddie Carbone leads to them being deported.

Or one of them – and not the one he wants removed. Miller, as always, provides a wider moral sphere. Eddie isn’t Oedipus; he doesn’t want to marry his mother, but he’s besotted with his teenage niece Katherine. He wants to keep her to himself, and certainly not fall in love with one of the family’s illegally arrived members.

Eddie lives in a small but comfortable apartment on the ground-floor in Red Hook, in Brooklyn’s roughest depths, a land of dock-labourers, only seen distantly by outsiders from high above on Brooklyn Bridge. Miller magnifies the characters, manual labourers unused to analysing feelings. It’s the more powerful for the setting, much more so than a play about a writer’s ethical dilemmas.

Eddie’s struggle to articulate his intense feelings makes him the significant character Lloyd Hutchinson heftily depicts. But as so often, patient Beatrice, loyal yet critical, smoothing life daily and finally speaking the whole truth, is the drama’s quieter centre.

Julia Ford is – as always – magnificently controlled; watchful, loving, worried, and finally alarmed when Eddie breaks the code of silence. Her long journey to the point where she can’t help speak-out his unacknowledged feeling for Catherine is a finely-observed dramatic journey.

Shannon Tarbet and Andy Apollo serve well as the niece and newcomer in love, while Daniel Coonan has great strength as Rodolpho’s taciturn brother, who increasingly challenges Eddie. For once, the lawyer Alfieri isn’t sententious; Bruce Alexander makes him an inside observer, someone it’s believable has lived his life learning to know local people.

The year before Red Hook had been the setting for On the Waterfront, which put the opposite case about informing. As a film, that was more widely seen. But Charlotte Gwinner’s revival shows why Miller’s is the piece that transcends its political point and endures.

Alfieri: Bruce Alexander.
Rodolpho: Andy Apollo.
Lipari: Jason Carragher.
Immigration Officer/Ensemble: Callum Coates.
Marco: Daniel Coonan.
Beatrice: Julia Ford.
Immigration Officer/Ensemble: Scott Hazell.
Eddie Carbone: Lloyd Hutchinson.
Lipari’s Wife/Ensemble: Denise Kennedy.
Mike/Sub 2/Ensemble: Tom Peters.
Catherine: Shannon Tarbet.
Louis/Ensemble: Liam Tobin.
Ensemble: Joe Ringwood, Daryl Wafer.

Director: Charlotte Gwinner.
Designer: Paul O’Mahoney.
Lighting: Mark Doubleday.
Sound: John Leonard.
Composer: Elizabeth Purnell.
Movement: Jack Murphy.
Voice: Richard Ryder.
Fight director: Bret Yount.
Assistant director: Hannah Mulder.

2014-04-08 10:45:30

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