A View From The Bridge

Date 21st April 2022
Society Stevenage Lytton Players
Venue Lytton Theatre
Type of Production Play
Director Tom Beirne

Report

Author: Vicki Avery

A View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller is a two-act play set by the docks of Red Hook, a working-class part of Brooklyn, New York. It is narrated by lawyer, Alfieri, and revolves around the Carbone family - Eddie, his wife Beatrice and their niece Catherine. 

Joseph Poppy, as Eddie Carbone, gave an absolutely stunning portrayal of a man who is totally obsessed with his niece Catherine who he and his wife have brought up from a young age. He refuses to admit that he is extremely possessive and it this possessiveness that eventually takes over his life at the expense of everything else around him. The passion, frustrations, anger, turmoil, agony, jealousy, pride, and fanatical obsessions were all so graphically delivered by Joseph - it was an outstanding piece of acting, - he was just exceptional! 

His wife, Beatrice, was superbly played by Sophie Harris. She had a real depth of understanding of the character and delivered this with such fervent emotion, movingly capturing the disintegration of her marriage and the man she loves. A truly heart-rending and poignant performance.

As Catherine, Alice Smithson, was a breath of fresh air in this otherwise at times, quite depressing scenario. She gave us life and energy, so happy, caring and loving whilst not appearing to realise or not choosing to understand the true depth of feelings and possessiveness emanating from her Uncle Eddie. The character becomes more forthright as the play proceeds, and we witness the all to inevitable change from young girl into womanhood - another impressive performance.

 Andrew Lee was perfect as Alfieri who is both narrator and local lawyer. His delivery was that of a powerful and authoritative portrayal as the lawyer trying his best to show concern for Eddie’s situation whilst telling him how he stood with regards to the law. A bridge between obsession and reality.

As the elder brother Marco, Richard Absalom was ideally suited to the role. He oozed an underlying broodiness that could be conveyed with just a look! Wow!!! He played the role of peacemaker but in the end his beliefs in traditional unwritten Italian law came to the fore as he finally seeks his revenge. Characterization was spot on, and the accent was just enough to convince the audience that here was someone you would not wish to mess with. 

 As a contrast, his younger brother Rodolpho, is a much more out-going character and Austin Arnold captured this perfectly. He was charming, charismatic, happy-go-lucky, and so animated and enthusiastic about his new life and his love for Catherine. The innocence of that first smile, first touch, first kiss made the whole relationship totally believable and both actors handled the inevitable outcome with great maturity. 

Good support came from Courtney Hedger and Barry Woolhead. 

The action took place inside the Carbone’s house with an extended walkway stage right for outdoor scenes and a seating area for Alfieri’s office stage left. The lighting, background music and sound effects were all appropriate and I liked the workable sash window overlooking Brooklyn Bridge. 

All accents were well controlled and delivered and diction was good. There were moments when I felt the action could have been moved forward a little more as Catherine played a lot of her lines close to the back wall and perhaps a little more detail when selecting props to dress the stage, for example a crucifix on the wall, a clock or even just one family photo. The set must seem just as real as the characters playing within it.

To do justice to this play it is paramount that you have good, experienced actors and these actors were not just good they were totally awesome. Tonight, I witnessed a most impressive and outstanding piece of theatre. Well done to everyone involved.  

Thank you to Mike for looking after me and I hope to see you all again soon.