It is easy to have misconceptions about younger actors playing complex theatrical characters ten to twenty years older than themselves. Will the moral and immoral tones of the play, without the more mature in age players, survive in the performance? This can depend on the quality of acting and a willingness for the audience to accept the differences on stage. This reviewer went into the Nottingham New Theatre studio wondering these very thoughts and came out again in genuine wonder at a terrifically gutsy production of Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge.
Set on a raised white playing space, not unlike a boxing ring, courtesy of set designer Hannah Kettle, and with most of the actors barefoot, Miller’s play, directed by Gus Herbert, grips and sparkles in every scene. The outside world is shown on an adjacent black floor with two old fashioned street lamps.
Lawyer Alfieri (Nick Gill) is played as a younger man than is traditionally done. Gill convinces in a very assured performance with every vocal nuance and gesture as clear as a bell. Often-times it feels as if we are in a court room with his confident personality as he guides us through A View From The Bridge as the narrator and constant observer.
In the central role of Eddie Carbone Harry Bradley puts in a towering performance. Throughout the short play his multifaceted character is brought very realistically to life by Bradley. All Carbone’s hidden incestuous guilt and non-comprehension of his niece Catherine’s love of immigrant Rodolpho plus his dismissal of his wife’s feelings come bubbling scolding hot to the surface. His contradictory actions violate the strict codes by which he lives and even though he is spoken of as a caring man and hard worker, ultimately his terrible act of betrayal and sexual desires are his final downfall.
Eddie’s sexually and emotionally frustrated wife Beatrice (Lou Knapp) is brought to the stage though a fine mixture of initial under playing and rising bodily tension as the final act explodes all around us and accusations hit the proverbial fan.
I don’t believe a word of it and I wish to hell you’d stop it!
As young lovers Catherine and Rodolpho actors Sasha Butler and Ben Standish win our sympathy and hearts. Standish is the perfect Rodolpho and he truthfully conveys his blonde character’s gently charming spirit of youth and belief in the great possibilities open to him in the USA. The boxing scene with Eddie Carbone is particularly well done with hurt and sudden mistrust writ large on Standish’s expressive face. Butler’s Catherine develops through the course of the play. Initially innocent and deferential to Eddie her slowly dawning understanding of Eddie’s darker sides and her undying love for Rodolpho are brilliantly realised by the youthful Butler.
As Rodolpho’s serious, dark and brooding brother Marco (Chris Sharp-Paul) we get another well drawn personality conveyed with subtlety. His is a personality that eventually screams out for Carbone’s blood and frighteningly executed by Sharp-Paul. The final fight scene is especially well choreographed.
In this very high standard studio production it is clear that a great deal of time and effort from all the student cast and director has been invested into delivering Miller’s script convincingly. This a very clear, occasionally raw and emotionally engaging piece of theatre. This brave cast aren’t afraid to leap in full throttle with the disturbing aspects of the play and don’t shy away from the cruel kissing and spitting whatever age they happen to be.
Originally published by The Reviews Hub.
Production photos courtesy of Max Miller