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Review: A View from the Bridge

Review: A View from the Bridge

Review by Sharon Ellis

A View from the Bridge
Written by: Arthur Miller
Directed by: Susan Wilson
Circa One
19 July 23 August
www.circa.co.nz/site/Shows/A-View-from-the-Bridge


Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge is Circa’s latest big production, it opened on Saturday 19 July and it is a stunning triumph.

A View from the Bridge is a classic. Arthur Miller often makes it into senior school English programmes with this play as well as The Crucible andDeath of Salesman so most of us know lots more about Miller than we realise. We know that he married Marilyn Monroe and we know that he behaved very well in the McCarthy witch-hunts of the 1950s, not snitching on his friends as Eddie does in this play, but all this is a long time ago. The first version of the play, one act in blank verse was performed on Broadway in 1955 it was not a success and was rewritten in two acts of prose and had its first outing on London’s West End in 1956 where it was banned. It is set and was written in New York nearly 60 years ago and yet the play has an immediacy, and a relevance to our lives here and now in election year in Wellington. The United States government is still messing with private lives and including us in its info crimes, all over the world countries like ours are doing some pretty disgusting things with unexpected immigrants, poverty is an increasingly visible issue, and family relationships are not in apple pie order.

Productions of A View from the Bridge are a theatre constant. There have been productions in London and in Liverpool this year. Susan Wilson who directs has not tried a new interpretation of the play but her view is thoroughly convincing.

The set is cold and dark and has an ominous sense of doom. The defined areas of living room, lawyer’s office, mysterious stairs, curtained door to the kitchen, front door step, the street and in the background the looming squared cityscape afford no comfort, no beauty, no blue sky none of the glittering lights Rodolpho hankers after. It all works well.

The casting is superb. Gavin Rutherford, and Acushla-Tara Sutton as Eddie and Catherine convincingly perform the subtle slide from an appropriate, gentle, tender, father and daughter relationship. They struggle with ties and obsessions through the shocking kisses, to the harrowing denouement. Commenting and advising wisely as we would like to ourselves Christopher Brougham’s Alfieri eyes the audience as he goes to Eddie. He fixes us with his powerful reason in just the way he cannot with Eddie.

Beatrice is mother to Catherine, and Eddie too if only he knew it or would let her. Jude Gibson knows her place, is a patient and wise guardian aunt and usurped wife from her stuffy old wig to the tips of her toes. There is still a spark in Beatrice and Jude Gibson lights it.

Marco and Rodolpho the Sicilian illegals are both important in the action. Paul Waggott as Rodolpho is delicious in the romantic bits. His blonde hair is thick and curly, he sings, he sews, and Catherine was smitten from the start, who could blame her Paul Waggott is a dish. So is Alex Greig as Marco, but hands off, Marco is married.

Circa is at its best in this play. The coffee, cake and wine are excellent too so book now.

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