I had greatly anticipated seeing how the New Theatre would reproduce such a classic play as A View From the Bridge and I am relieved to say that it was worth the wait. In the midst of the audience finding their seats, two aptly dressed Italian Americans laughed and joked, setting the scene for what would be a truly fantastic theatre experience.
The set was superb in its authentic rendering of a 1950s Italian American home, the ideal background for the highly evocative and charged relationships that are pivotal to the play. The intense narration by Lawyer Alfieri conjured scenes of inner city suburban New York, which effectively paved the way for the introduction of the tragic protagonist Eddie Carbone. Eddie is a doomed individual left to encounter a plethora of unfortunate circumstances that result in a climactic ending comparable to that of Shakespeare’s Othello. As such, credit must be given to New Theatre for their endeavours to stay true to the classical roots of Eddie’s character, portraying him as the modern day tragic hero.
The entire cast of New Theatre’s ‘A View From the Bridge’ gave sterling performances; my praise most particularly must go to Will Randall and Ben Williamson for their evocative and suspenseful work. Though equally deserving were the subtle and intelligent performances of Beatrice and Catherine, which carefully hinted at underlying family tensions without becoming too obvious.
The play takes a fresh look at one of Miller’s most celebrated achievements as a playwright. On one level it depicts 1950s America at its most stifling and suffocating, as well as encapsulating brilliantly the persistence of meritocratic aspiration and the American Dream. Additionally the play acts as microcosm of Italian American society, depicting the social and psychological implications of betraying one’s culture.
Ultimately, New Theatre’s adaptation of such a well-loved piece of literature did not disappoint. Not only is it a superb play that combines love, tragedy and violence in a seemingly harmonious backdrop, but also includes great comedy moments that were flawlessly timed.