Friday, 5 June 2009

A View From The Bridge - Richmond Theatre

A View from the Bridge By Arthur Miller
Director: Lyndsay Posner
Reviewer: David Saunders

I arrived at the Richmond having heard good things about this production of one of Arthur Miller’s finest plays. I was not disappointed. This is one of the finest versions of this piece I have seen.

In the lead role of Eddie Carbone, Ken Stott brings all of the tortured pathos of the character trapped by his own circumstance. Stott is more than deserving of the praise received during the show’s run in the west end. This is one of our finest actors at the peak of his powers at turns both: mesmerising and powerful, fragile and helpless.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is impressive in her role as his estranged wife, Beatrice. Bringing depth and colour to a role which has the potential to be one note. Subtlety and nuance in the performance offer the audience a performance of real craft.

Hayley Atwell matches those around her in the role of Catherine, the Carbone’s adopted daughter. She brings both a steely resolve to the character while also allowing the innocence of youth to filter through especially in those scenes where the this trio of actors share the stage.

The supporting cast offer solid and well considered performances adding the layers to what is already a well conceived and executed production.

The direction of Lindsay Posner deserves mention, allowing the staging to take on a naturalistic yet claustrophobic feel offering the audience the opportunity to see into the lives of the three lead characters but to also make their own choices about the viewing of the piece. A simplified natural staging works best for this piece and while the piece is not as theatrically showy as many it has been delicately crafted by this director.

The evocative set by Christopher Oram, perfectly captures the feel of the era. The worn and downtrodden settings created here offer a mirror for the characters and their own broken lives. At times stunningly simple, at times intricately detailed.

The lighting and sound designs again form an integral part of this production while as it should be, not taking over the performance. It this time where every director and company seem to want to throw as many toys at the stage as they can it is comforting to know there are still sound and lighting designers with the ability to craft work that has subtlety to it.

Overall this production is stunning in my view, a fine example of what can be done with good casting and direction that shows craft rather than the need for theatrical show and to allow the words and worlds of these characters to shine through. This is one of the finest Miller play productions of recent times in my opinion. Clever and inventive, challenging
and powerful.
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