03rd May2014

A View from the Bridge – Theatre

by timbaros

images-160I had no idea what I was about to see when I went to A View From The Bridge. I had never seen the play before, nor have I seen the 1962 movie, and I’ve never read the book. Little did I know that I was in for a devastating theatre experience.

Red Hook is a section of Brooklyn that is not particularly known as a destination place. It sits on the waterfront right under the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s an area where people pass over going to other and nicer neighborhoods. Today it’s an expensive area due to it’s location, but back in the 1950’s, which is when A View From The Bridge takes place, it was a run-down, smelly, poor, dangerous and derelict part of Brooklyn. As Red Hook is right on the water, it attracted lots of illegal immigrants bound for America and the opportunities the country had to offer them, and the availability to find work, whether you were legal or not. Hence A View From The Bridge take it’s story.
Eddie Carbone (an incredible Mark Strong) is a proud man. He works on the docks, lives in a simple house with his wife Beatrice (an amazing Nicola Walker) and their niece Catherine (a brilliant Phoebe Fox). Eddie and Catherine appear to be a bit too close and affectionate with each other, enough so to ring alarm bells in Beatrice’s head. To make matters more complicated, they agree to house two of Beatrice’s cousins from Italy, Marco (Emun Elloitt) and Rodolpho (a handsome and sexy Luke Norris), illegally, as the men don’t the proper papers to work in the U.S. So the five of them live together in Eddie and Beatrice’s cramped house. Rodolpho and Catherine take an interest in each other. Catherine is already a  young woman at 18, and according to Beatrice, able to make her own decisions about her life and what she wants. Eddie, however, sees it differently. He wants Catherine to stay as his little girl, to stay home and take a secretarial job. And the love that Eddie has for Catherine is not normal. Things come to a head when Catherine tells Eddie that her and Rodolpho plan to get married. As his jealousy overcomes him, Eddie turns the cousins in to the immigration authorities in order to get rid of Rodolpho. and after he does so all their lives will never be the same.
After A View From The Bridge was over, I was simply blown away. Not just by how strong and real the story was, but by the acting on stage at the Young Vic. It is one of the best acted plays I have ever seen. Strong as Eddie is a man’s man, but still with a soft spot for Catherine, and Strong is just mesmerizing. His is an award-winning performance. Fox as Catherine is also a revelation. Playing a young woman about to blossom and at the same time maintaining a daddy’s little girl image is what Fox does, brilliantly, and it looks like she is putting in very little effort to play the role, she’s that good. Walker is perfectly cast as Beatrice, not having been touched by Eddie yet still very much in love with him, considering the circumstances, which she’s all too aware. Elliott and Norris play their roles very well. Elliott doesn’t have much to do but it’s Norris who brings to his a role a bit of innocence and sexiness and makes it very believable how Catherine can fall in love with him and how Eddie can be very jealous of him. Michael Gould plays a narrator who provides clarity on what’s happening and what’s about to happen, creating even more suspense throughout the show.  The set is also part of the cast. It is a very shallow shell of a swimming pool, built this way to capture what’s going to happen at the end.
There’s really not much more to say about A View From The Bridge, except that it will be one of the most amazing theatre pieces you will see in a long time. It’s playing at the Old Vic up until June 7th.