by Arthur Miller adapted by Ron Hutchinson.
Royal & Derngate (Royal auditorium) Guildhall Road NN1 1DP To 27 June.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm.
Audio-described 24 Jun, 25 Jun 2.30pm.
BSL Signed 25 Jun 7.45pm.
Captioned 23 Jun.
TICKETS: 01604 624811.
then Everyman Theatre 9-11 Hope Street L1 9BH 1-25 July 2015.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm except 8, 22 Jul 5.30pm Mat Sat 2pm 15 Jul 1.30pm.
Audio-described 23 Jul.
Captioned 25 Jul 2pm.
TICKETS: 0151 709 4776.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 10 June.
Visceral grip of human nature.
In the early 1950s Arthur Miller, whose plays defiantly spoke about public issues, lived-up to the integrity of his protagonist Marty Ferrara. Miller faced hostility from a film-studio boss, a union leader and the FBI over his presentation of the rough world of Red Hook, the New York area of immigrant dockworkers famously seen in A View from the Bridge.
With The Crucible that play shares The Hook’s concern for the reputation of a person’s name as an expression of integrity. Eddie Carbone calls for his name to be restored around Red Hook, as gangster dock-leader Rocky demands his be restored. Marty cannot stand-down his campaign against corruption and live with himself.
Preparing this script, playwright Ron Hutchinson collated several versions and suggestions by Miller about a piece intended for screen rather than stage. The process shows, yet the plot jumps and discontinuities add to a rough-edged drama which entirely fits the raw experience with which the play is stuffed, reinforcing the moral insistence of Miller’s mind.
Jamie Sives’ Marty, Sean Murray’s Rocky and Joe Alessi as the union boss not quite without a conscience, are outstanding in an ensemble cast, while Susie Trayling as Marty’s wife and sole female character, her clothing providing a rare moment of colour in this dark world, asserts the claim of family life with quiet anxiety.
Patrick Connellan’s set, suggesting ship hold, longshore and warehouse, plus Isobel Waller-Bridge’s score, alternating urgent activity and sustained sense of threat, are vital components, lit in misty colourlessness by Charles Balfour and accompanied by the harsh noises and amplifications provided by Tom Mills, in creating the enclosed world where James Dacre’s production hurtles, tumbles and plunges with noisy rivalries and instantly-made decisions, the stage ever-animated with detail.
Death, by accident or design, is never distant, a blind street-trader approaching amid the mists seems somehow fateful and sinister, while hefty figures in dark coats enforce the rule of powerful leaders. Raucous, rough voices express lives lived amid noisy machinery with no spare moment, while the rare quiet family moments hold their own intimate tension in this intense, involving drama.
Barney/Louis: Joe Alessi.
Dominick: Séan Aydon.
Sleeper: Tom Canton.
Meathead: Tim Chipping.
Piggy: Sean Jackson.
Rocky: Sean Murray.
Enzo: Paul Rattray.
Marty Ferrara: Jamie Sives.
Therese Ferrara: Susie Trayling.
Farragut: Jem Wall.
Darkeyes: Ewart James Walters.
Community Ensemble (Northampton): Will Adams, Sam Birch, Jeanne Corby, Davin Eadie, Mark Farey, Graham Follett, Martyn Freeman, Stewart Magrath, Alan Miles, Erica Mynard, Andrew Routledge, Jude Wilton, Adrian Wyman, Diane Wyman, Sue Whyte.
Director: James Dacre.
Designer: Patrick Connellan.
Lighting: Charles Balfour.
Sound: Tom Mills.
Composer: Isobel Waller-Bridge.
Video: Nina Dunn.
Movement: Struan Leslie.
Dialect coach: Charmian Hoare.
Fight director: Terry King.
Assistant director: Jesse Jones.