THE penultimate play at the Little Theatre before the summerbreak was Arthur Miller’s tragically passionate A View from the Bridge.
Miller, without doubt America’s greatest playwrights, lost himself for long periods in the dockers’ lives in New York’s Brooklyn Bridge area, and lived with the workers, until he finally hit on the often gut-wrenching play which looked at high emotion and life and death in one family.
If you didn’t leave the WLT production feeling draining, you’d missed the point.
Producer Jim Stirrup captured the very essence and hard and soft edges of Miller’s thought-provoking masterpiece, at the centre of which is head of the house Eddie Carbone who is fiercely protective of his attractive niece.
The View from the Bridge - from the mid 50s - is deeply riddled with many emotions, and they begin to drip-drip drip when two relatives – one a softly spoken blond – arrive illegally from Italy. Boy meets girl, a romance begins. A stellar cast brings this deep, meaningful and uneasily enthralling power house to life and we, the audience, sit
there aware that real blood and real tears are so near.
Jon Dawson captured the love and loathing in Eddie’s fragile, anxious heart; as the Italians, Niall Wilkinson and
Tom Loughlin were perfect as the contrasting Italians, and both well captured the accents. Eddie’s wife was capably
and confidently handled by Tracey Dawson, and as the blossoming Catherine, Joyce Hope was top class. It was her
first major role and her mature acting talents were never in doubt.
As the wise union official to which Eddie turns for advice, Peter Hall’s Alfieri was impressively deep and thoughtful.
In the end, Arthur Miller asks us to make a decision about Eddie Carbone. It is this. Does his wildly possessiveness nature have deeper roots.
Quite rightly, his wife believes her husband is infatuated with Catherine.
The whole cast ensured the tension mounted at just the right pace, and the explosive last moments – a confrontation between the older Italian and Eddie – were utterly shocking and superbly handled.
Miller’s “Bridge” play is worryingly deep and thought provoking. We all know possessive people – just like Eddie – but our hope is that “too much love” doesn’t overflow into the arena of tragedy.
Next WLT production: Calendar Girls June 19 to 29.