A View from the Bridge, Richmond Theatre, May 2009Posted on 31 May 2009
This Arthur Miller play, about the self-destruction of dockworker Eddie Carbone, who lives in 1950s Brooklyn with his wife and niece, was beautifully revived and directed by Lindsay Posner. Ken Stott was excellent as Eddie, well demonstrating his insecurity, his intensely narcissistic love for his niece Katie and growing disenchantment with his wife. After overcoming his reluctance to let Katie go to work and become independent, he is presented with two brothers from their extended family in Sicily who move in to work as illegal immigrants. The elder one, Marco intends to stay five years and then go back to his wife and children, but the younger brother Rodolpho wants to become an American, and Eddie immediately senses a rival for Katie’s affections. When Rodolpho and Katie begin to fall in love, Eddie gets obsessed with the boy’s easy going and outgoing attitudes, accusing him of being gay. He eventually snitches on both brothers to the US Immigration Service, despite his lawyer’s warning that the reaction of his neighbours will destroy his own life. Eddie’s narcissism is well expressed by his cri-de-coeur “I want respect”. The wretched man cannot respect himself so he begs it from others, and his eventual demand for apologies, where none are due, leads to the execution of ancient Sicilian custom resulting in his own death.
The lovely 17-year-old Katie was beautifully played by Hayley Atwell, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio gave a strong performance as Eddie’s anxious and almost powerless wife. Harry Lloyd was a charming Rodolpho, and the elder brother Marco, who says but little, was powerfully portrayed by Gerard Monaco. The lawyer, who has a narrative role like a single-person Greek chorus, and attempts to turn Eddie from his fate, was excellently played by Allan Corduner.
Christopher Oram’s designs of the costumes and interior of Eddie’s apartment worked superbly, as did the lighting by Peter Mumford. The production by Lindsay Posner, which moved from the Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End, was well suited to this intense and emotional play, and the performance was riveting.