BWW Review: A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, York Theatre Royal
Arthur Miller's modern classic A View from the Bridge is faithfully revived in this co-production between York Theatre Royal and Royal & Derngate, Northampton.
An atmospheric set by designer Rhys Jarman forms the backdrop for Miller's modern-day Greek tragedy. A simply set living room is the focal point of much of the play's drama, whilst a somewhat under-utilised walkway looms overhead. Smoke continually swirls under the lights, so the audience views the action through a noire-esque haze.
Director Juliet Forster makes sure that this production hits all the right dramatic notes. Nicholas Karimi embodies patriarch Eddie's unravelling in a performance that is both tightly restrained and filled with vicious energy.
There are moments in his scenes with wife Beatrice, strongly portrayed by Laura Pyper, where his depiction of the destructive masculinity that defines this play is so unsettlingly familiar that the relevance of Miller's drama to modern audiences is made strikingly clear.
Robert Pickavance as the play's narrator, Alfieri, gives a powerful if sometimes over-spirited performance; in his scenes with Eddie, in particular, he matches rather than balances Karimi's fierceness.
The cast pull out the texture of the play's prose well; it lacks surprises, but packs a punch in terms of emotional impact nonetheless. Forester builds a tension that comes to a head in a stunning moment, as we see Marco (the perfectly cast Reuben Johnson) silhouetted against the background of the stage before the explosive climax brings Eddie's descent to a close.
The community cast come into their own in this final act, giving the desired effect of a neighbourhood that is always watching.
A View from the Bridge explores themes that have never been more relevant - toxic masculinity, immigration, family, community - and there is a sense that this production has missed an opportunity to bring a more contemporary edge to the play. However, Miller's work is so carefully observed and so powerfully written, and here so deftly performed, that it still demands to be watched.
Photo credit: Ian Hodgson