A View from the Bridge

Written by Arthur Miller
Directed by Charlotte Gwinner
Presented by Liverpool Playhouse & Everyman
Liverpool Playhouse
27 March - 19 April 2014

Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Photograph by Stephen Vaughan

This classic play, written in 1954, is still highly relevant today given the extreme xenophobia prevalent around the world, directed towards immigrants, whether they be legal or illegal newcomers to a country.

Set in the dock areas of Brooklyn, populated predominantly by working class people, the industrial noise pounding away outside the theatre (renovation work is being carried out at a building nearby) added unintended poignancy to the impressive production by Playhouse Associate Director Charlotte Gwinner, winner of the national Quercus Award, presented to a director of outstanding promise.

If this is a measure of what she can create Gwinner is on a winner in the world of theatre.

Longshoreman Eddie Carbone (a sterling performance by Lloyd Hutchinson), with the persuasion of his wife Beatrice (Julia Ford), allows her two Italian cousins Rodolpho (Andy Apollo) and Marco (Daniel Coonan), both smuggled into the USA from Sicily, to stay at their home and work on the long ships.

But Eddie's amiable attitude towards them soon turns to displeasure, particularly Rodolpho, when he starts to woo his adopted niece, virginal 17-year-old Cathy (Shannon Tarbet), who falls under his spell.

Eddie becomes increasingly bitter about their blossoming relationship, displaying emotions of anger, jealousy (Eddie's affections for Cathy are not entirely reputable), and the impending loss of seeing her leave the household.

Eddie utters on two or three occasions "No one gives me respect", but he has little respect for himself, set in his ways and leading a life of little scope or ambition.

Like a lover spurned for someone else, he cries out "Who is this guy?", in reference to Rodolpho, ridiculing him for his multi-faceted skills, including his singing prowess on the boats and, most annoyingly to Eddie, his dress making flair.

Eddie who has lost his sexual attraction for Beatrice (the reverse is also probably true), becomes disillusioned with his refusal to let Cathy become a young woman and venture forth in life.

He becomes increasingly estranged from his family and friends, as well as his lawyer cum confidant Alfieri (Bruse Alexander) - who is the narrator of the story - losing sense of who he is and what he stood for, is dealt an untimely blow but not at the hands of who you might suspect.

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