Ella burns

A View From the Bridge is a performance of great ambition: although it sticks to Arthur Miller’s original script, Seb Brindle’s creative direction and vision stands out, amplifying the play's contemporary relevance. The production centres around 1950s Brooklynites Eddie Carbone, his wife Beatrice and their seventeen-year-old orphaned niece Catherine. The whole story is narrated by a lawyer, Alfieri, who describes the attitude of the family at the arrival of Beatrice’s two Italian cousins, Marco and Rodolpho. 

William Batty, who plays Eddie, takes on a challenging role with what seems like effortless ease. His performance is energetic, suiting the character's loud, impulsive and invigorating presence in scenes such as his fight with Rodolpho or his attempt to lift a chair in order to prove his strength. His scathing tone is undercut by his facial expressions, which expose the despair at the character’s core. Nevertheless, there are also moments, albeit very few, where he becomes affectionate, almost a father figure, which makes some of the play's most suggestive scenes all the more uncomfortable to watch.

"It is difficult to criticise the production in any meaningful way"

Alfieri (Leon Hewitt), by contrast, radiates calm and neutrality,  letting the audience decide for themselves whether they agree with the events he describes. Catherine (Katie Chambers) is also impressively played, managing to switch easily from a naïve but determined girl to a woman stricken by inconsolable grief by the end of the play. Every single performance, in fact, is incredibly high-quality, while the director’s decision that the cast retain their own accents lends the play a certain universality.

William Audis’s sound choices are also striking. The inclusion of a drummer creates additional suspense during already tense moments through musical crescendos, while the use of Leonard Cohen’s One of Us Cannot Be Wrong in the final scene moved the audience to tears.

This is also a highly aesthetic, stylised production. Everything in A View from the Bridge is black and white, reflecting the trenchant and simplistic prejudices surrounding the characters. Daniel Elis makes smart choices, emphasising the age of the characters through their costumes (Catherine’s dress is always shorter than her aunt’s), how others perceive them (Rodolpho’s shirt is black, emphasising his position as the black sheep), and their character development and growth (Catherine wears high heels as she grows out of being a "baby").

Gabriel humphreys

Craig Stewart and Dominic Littlewood’s stage is both sensational and multifunctional: a block of glass takes on the form of a bridge, a telephone booth, and something a little more morbid towards the end. Meanwhile, Cat Salvini’s lighting design is also commendable as the attention of the audience follows the movement of the light from the narrator, to the drummer between the acts, or to the action itself, always managing to retain the audience's focus.

It is difficult to criticise the production in any meaningful way: the actors’ performances were breathtaking, while everything, from stage to costumes, felt innovative. This was reflected in the reactions and engagement of the audience, as sustained and enthusiastic applause was followed by emotion and tears.

Go see A View From The Bridge, and immerse yourself in a world bristling with honesty and universality.

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