Friday, 18 April 2014

Review - A Vie From The Bridge at the Young Vic


FROM the moment the solid wall that is a curtain surrounding the Young Vic's main house stage is lifted for its production of A View From The Bridge, I was hooked.
Dark, gloomy, almost suffocating in its intensity, this is the most stunning production of Arthur Miller's classic play.
The story centres on Brooklyn longshoreman Eddie Carbone and his unhealthy and frankly creepy obsession for his 17-year-old niece Catherine.
Since the death of her mother some years earlier Catherine has lived with Eddie and his wife Beatrice.
Under the guise of protecting her Eddie clearly has a hold over her but when Beatrice invites her two Italian cousins, illegal immigrants in the country, to stay with them things take a dark and sinister turn.
Tensions begin to build but in doing so we, like Eddie's lawyer, who also narrates the piece, know something awful is going to happen.
The acting is superb particularly that of Mark Strong as Eddie. His portrayal of this tragic man is flawless. It is both heartbreaking and shocking to see him gradually collapse and disintegrate in front of our eyes as the play moves towards its inevitable awful and brutal end.
Phoebe Fox is delightful as Catherine, Nicola Walker puts in a beautifully moving performance as Beatrice, betrayed so cruelly by her husband, and Michael Gould brilliantly combines the voices of the lawyer Alfieri, and the narrator.
The set deserves special mention. It is performed on a thrust stage bordered by a low rise wall of perspex. The curtain is left hanging just above the action throughout the piece before it sinks gradually onto its base as the final heartbreaking scene is played out.
Throughout it gives a sense of the claustrophobic and suffocating atmosphere that exists in the home and that of the relationships within it.
Despite it being a bladder-busting two hours with no interval, this production is totally gripping and is without doubt one of the best pieces of theatre I have seen this year. A must see.

A View From The Bridge is on at the Young Vic, The Cut, Waterloo until June 7. Tickets from £10. Call the box office on 020 7922 2922.

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