A View From The Bridge, Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh: Review

4/5

John Dove returns to the Royal Lyceum for what is his fifth and final production of a series of Arthur Miller’s plays. A View From A Bridge remains a quintessential classic of 20th century drama with its strong themes of community and an ongoing search for identity, making it a powerful start to the Lyceum’s Spring season.

Set in an Italian-American neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York in the 1950’s, the story follows longshoreman Eddie Carbone (Stanley Townsend) who lives with his wife Beatrice (Kathryn Howden) and niece Catherine (Kirsty Mackay). As an act of charity, the family give refuge to two of Beatrice’s cousins: Marco (Richard Conlon) and Rodolpho (Gunner Cauthery) who have come to America as illegal immigrants in search of work, aiming to send money back to their starving families in Italy. However, as time progresses, the relationship between Catherine and Rudolpho deepens, causing Eddie to become uncomfortable.

As tension increases, problems of trust and betrayal arise in a tale reminiscent of Greek tragedy. Townsend does well to encapsulate the rising angst of protagonist Eddie, who is visibly seen to fall apart, his jealousy growing as a result of a convoluted love he is unable to comprehend. Mackay is a physical embodiment of a woman coming of age, imbuing beauty swathed in a veil of naivety. In a truly endearing fashion, Howden effortlessly captures the honesty of a caring mother figure who remains strong despite her husband slipping away.

Ultimately, Dove illustrates the closeness of a community brought together by the ties of familial benefaction against overarching governmental laws, a theme which is made all the more compelling due to the strong sense of betrayal between Conlon and Townsend. The closing scene is a testament to this. Brought together by the narration of Liam Brennan, who plays Alfieri (a lawyer who witnesses the deterioration of Eddie first hand), his attempts to help are refused by a man who has become deluded by the love he can never have, resulting in scenes that are both moving and somewhat disturbing.

Though Dove’s production is certainly not flawless, it successfully captures the essence of Miller’s drama through his strong sense of characterisation and portrayal of believable relationships. The verisimilitude with which the cast manages to make even an evening meal appear authentic makes this an impressive play to start the year.

Taken from The Journal, published Wed Jan 26 2011.

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