Taking place in a turbulent period of American history, A View From The Bridge’s themes are as relevant today as ever before.
Photo via Red Line Productions.
Taking place amidst a turbulent period of American history, this stark production – the set comprises a chair and little else – unfolds in the space between the auditorium and a traverse seating bank on the stage.
Hardened longshoreman Eddie (Ivan Donato), his family’s breadwinner, has to contend with two of his wife Beatrice’s (Janine Watson) relatives (Lincoln Younes & David Soncin) as lodgers. The pair are fresh off the boat from Italy and looking for work. When one becomes enamoured with Eddie’s ward and niece, Catherine (Zoe Terakes), he’s none too comfortable with the prospect of change.
Donato, as much the catalyst for events as he is the play’s emotional edge, is superb throughout, jumping from ire-filled patriarch to Eddie’s more vulnerable, questioning self in a matter of moments. Terakes, in her stage debut, is another highlight, most notably in the more emotive, later sequences where her presence has a pivotal though not overstated resonance in the small space. She plays well off the excellent Younes, who along with Donato manages to maintain his intensive bearing throughout.
A sequence featuring Eddie and his lawyer (David Lynch), also the narrator, serves as one of the play’s best, the pair’s practiced interplay matched only by the scenes featuring Eddie and his wife, which Watson plays to quiet and ultimately searing emotional effect.
Although realised well, and without an interval, the pauses between some scenes do linger too long on occasion, marginally suspending the tension in an otherwise transfixing production. The performers scattered throughout the audience in the intervening sequences remains one of the show’s better innovations, allowing for seamless transitions when they are due to play their part.
The lack of scenery, while permitting a focus on the performers (and on one of two props which plays a hugely significant part in a particular sequence) does render some moments awkward when performers are required to retreat to the corners and seemingly relieve themselves on a piece of furniture or household fixture. The lack of obstruction here is of benefit by engendering a greater and natural focus on the talented performers, though at times the effect is rendered overly conspicuous by the absence of ordinary wares.
The penultimate introduction of a secondary prop, however, is very well executed, contributing greatly to the play’s palpable tension.
Featuring a round of performances that never let up their quality, A View From the Bridge is a treat; a must for any Arthur Miller fan and for those enamoured with Red Line’s series of excellent productions.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Red Line Productions’ A View From The Bridge
Written by Arthur Miller
Directed by Iain Sinclair
Produced by Red Line Productions
Assistant Director: Andrew Henry
Stage Manager: Bronte Schuftan
Set Design: Jonathan Hindmarsh
Costume Design: Martelle Hunt
Sound Design: Clemence Williams
Lighting Design: Matt Cox
Lighting Associate: Paisley Williams
Dialect Coach: Nick Curnow
Choreography: Ellen Simpson
Combat Director: Scott Witt
Set Construction: Colin Emmerton
The Old Fitz Theatre, Woolloomooloo
18 October - 25 November 2017