Review: A View From the Bridge by Arthur Miller at Colchester Mercury until April 30.

A View From the Bridge by Arthur Miller at Colchester Mercury until April 30.

Eddie Carbone is a man’s man. He rules the roost at home, his workmates like and respect him but he has a problem. He’s gone off his wife and has developed an unhealthy interest in his pretty young niece. The trouble is, Eddie doesn’t know it.

A long-time longshoreman in the New York shipyards, Eddie took in Catherine when his wife Beatrice’s sister died and he has brought her up as his own. She’s nearly 18 and, he says, he wants her to do well, to break out of Brooklyn, meet and marry a nice young man.

But then two of Beatrice’s cousins, illegal immigrants escaping the 1950s jobless poverty of the old country, Sicily, take shelter with them, Marco and Rodolpho and Eddie gets them work in the docks. Marco just wants to send money home to his wife and children. Rodolpho is young, attractive and fancy free.

What is more, he can can dressmake, dance and sing the big hit Paper Doll brilliantly like a pop star. Catherine is swiftly smitten and, just as instantly, Eddie is filled with an unreasoning jealousy that knows no bounds.

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This is not an emotion Eddie would ever admit to and whole impact of the play hangs on the ability of the actor playing him to persuade us of the awful mental and physical turmoil he suffers trying to justify words and actions that are outrageous and make no real sense but which he is unable stop himself from saying and doing. He doesn’t even recognise what he is admitting when he yells at his lawyer that Rodolpho ‘is stealing her.’

Tim Treslove has got him to a tee in tour de force performance that carries us bodily through this heartbreak journey to hell. He and the rest of the cast find Miller’s simple poetry in the ordinary words of everyday people in an evening that spills breathtakingly from one drama to the next.

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Gina Isaac’s Beatrice is a woman of passion and understanding who quietly can see what is happening and tries desperately to ward it off by re-arousing his bedroom interest: ‘When am I going to be a wife again,’ she demands. And even when she screams at him ‘You can’t have her,’ it is done with love not hate. The burgeoning romance between Catherine (Ella Vale) and Rodolpho (Pete Ashmore) is delightfully realised.

But she is a lamb let loose in jungle of lions because rolled into the picture is the Sicilian honour code that, no matter what the circumstances, you never rat on a friend and, if you do, beware.

Roger Delves-Broughton is a thoughtfully effective narrator and Luciano Dodero’s Marco is very effective in a large, uniformly good cast that uses Michale Vale’s clever set to the full. Very strong, powerful stuff.

David Henshall.

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