Reviewed by Richard Lane
Arthur Miller’s play A View From The Bridge, tells the tragic story of Brooklyn longshoreman Eddie Carbone who harbours love for his niece Catherine. This incestuous desire brings about Eddie’s own destruction.The play has its roots in Greek drama- including a chorus and a protagonist with a fatal flaw.
Eddie is a hard-working man, decent and likeable, who lives with his wife Beatrice and her niece, seventeen year old Catherine in the tightly-knit Italian slum community of Red Hook, below the Brooklyn Bridge. Eddie loves the beautiful woman/child Catherine in a way which becomes increasingly clear is much more than fatherly. This dreadful fault is his undoing and the play ends in Eddie’s death by his own hand as his family and Italian community look on.
Though not everyone’s metier, (this critic excluded) this splendid production under the direction of John Graham encapsulates all the aspects of a modern tragedy whilst borrowing from the Greek tragic genre. Apart from the occasional lapse in pace, often associated with exits, this is a very vital production. The subject matter, bears in mind the current situation in this country with asylum seekers or “illegal immigrants” as they are often mis-called.
Ole Wiebkin’s economical, compact and non-naturalistic set places the characters and action in accurate time and place of the mid ‘50’s, and it works wonderfully well.
The performances by the major characters are all first rate. Alfieri is a lawyer and is the one- man Greek chorus, narrating for the audience and commenting on the action he views from his lofty office near the bridge. He is played with great skill and gentle humour by Tom Kontogonis
The experienced actor Sharon Malujlo shows enormous strength and compassion without always understanding her husband Eddie, yet her love for him never wavers . At this performance, Eddie’s niece is played by the beautiful Charlotte Batty who grows from child to woman as her love for Rodolpho grows and Eddie’s behaviour becomes more out of control. Batty plays the role with distinction.
Beatrice’s two cousins Rodolpho and Marco, illegal immigrants to America looking for work and a better life, are the catalysts for ultimately destroying the lives of of Eddie and the others.
As Rodolpho, Marcin Holownia was perfectly cast as the lover for Catherine, and Steve Marvanek was impressive as his brother Marco who was eventually the agent of Eddie’s tragic death.
It is difficult to believe that (according to the program biog) this is the maiden appearance on stage for Nigel Tripodi playing the pivotal role of Eddie Carbone, a tour de force for this imposing actor.
His fall from grace from a well respected member of the Italian community to a man whose life and family are shamed, brought about by his own weakness, is portrayed with skill and power. We are aware from the outset that Eddie will fall and true to Greek tragedy, he does. The clipped Brooklyn accents were occasionally at variance but Mr. Tripodi’s was harsh, staccato and as accurate as a non-Brooklynite can be. This actor has a bright future.
Finally, John Graham and his entire cast are to be congratulated on a fine theatrical experience.