Review: A View From The Bridge at The Nottingham New Theatre

4 STARS

1950s America. Lust, power, violence and sexuality, with a vicious and tragic climax. What more could you want on a cold and windy Wednesday evening?

To celebrate the centenary of Arthur Miller's birth, the New Theatre’s latest production, A View From The Bridge, directed by Gus Herbert and starring Harry Bradley as the play’s protagonist Eddie Carbone, is set to be a hit and is selling out fast. Exploring themes of patriarchy, family and honour, the play was powerfully told, the performance focusing on the portrayal of gender in particular, which added an extra nuance to the production.  

The cast was one of the best I have seen in a New Theatre production, yet the undoubted star of the evening was Bradley as Eddie, an honourable and decent man, who welcomes his wife’s cousins into their home (despite their status as illegal immigrants). However, when it becomes clear that his beloved niece, Catherine, is falling in love with one of these Italian cousins, darker feelings begin to rise to the surface before tragedy strikes in the play’s denouement. Every raw emotion, every ounce of hatred and passion was portrayed truthfully by Bradley, reinforcing his status as one of the New Theatre’s finest actors; a definite ‘one-to-watch’. Nick Gill was powerful, as always, in his role as Alfieri, whilst Lou Knapp, as Eddie’s long-suffering wife Beatrice, portrayed a jealousy and despair which was quietly striking. The rest of the cast were also extremely strong; the girlish yet commanding stage presence of Sasha Butler as Catherine was another memorable performance. Best newcomer certainly goes to Chris Sharp-Paul as Marco, whose rage and violence turned the blank white stage into the boxing ring it so resembled.

My only criticism would be that, upon entering the auditorium, it was with trepidation that I realised the seating arrangements had been altered. Instead of the normal New Theatre set up, the performance space was in the centre of the theatre, surrounded on two sides by the audience. Despite the best efforts of the actors, it was therefore inevitable that somebody was blocked, or alternatively breaking the first rule of theatre and turning their back on the audience. For half the play, it seemed the audience were only watching a fraction of the action unfold, a huge disadvantage for the cast, who, thankfully, still managed to act with astounding quality.

Overall, despite this staging issue, The Nottingham New Theatre’s A View From The Bridge is an innovative and diverse performance which challenges period conventions and attempts to put a new and exciting twist on an old classic – something the New Theatre does extremely well, time and time again.

For more information about the production and how to book tickets click here

Edited by Georgina Varley

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