This production of A View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller, originally performed at the Young Vic before transferring to the West End where it was broadcast by NT Live, was a fantastic portrayal of a claustrophobic family situation.
Eddie Carbone (Mark Strong) and his wife Beatrice (Nicola Walker) live with Beatrice’s niece Catherine (Phoebe Fox), who moved in with them after the death of her mother. It is clear from the outset that the relationship between Eddie and Catherine, their touches, long embraces and her wrapping her legs around his waist, is becoming inappropriate now that she is a young woman and no longer a child. When two of Beatrice’s cousins arrive illegally from Italy to stay with them, Eddie’s possessiveness of Catherine becomes more apparent after she falls in love with one of them, Rodolpho. He claims that he is uncomfortable because Rodolpho sings, dances and sews, qualities that are totally different to the stereotypical masculinity that Eddie exudes, but his jealousy is undeniable.
There were strong performances from all, and there was a fantastic scene after Eddie had become aware of Catherine’s relationship, with all the characters in the Carbone household present, where you could have cut the tension with a knife. I feel that the choice not to have an interval also added to the intensity of the play. I did however find Phoebe Fox difficult to understand at times – her accent sounded different to Strong’s and Walker’s, and she also spoke very quickly.
The set was very simple – just a square box with the audience sat on three sides, reminiscent of a boxing ring or a prison cell, but it conveyed the claustrophobia of the play excellently.
I was completely unfamiliar with the play before this production and it was a fantastic introduction to it. Thank you NT Live!