Review: A View from the Bridge
Laura Piccirillo gives UCLU Drama Society’s adaptation of the Arthur Miller classic five thumbs up!
“It looks like we’re going into a seedy nightclub”. With the promise of these words, I knew it was going to be an interesting night.
It may be the size of the Moonies dance floor but the intimate setting (focus on intimate) combined with the thrust stage, of the Garage Theatre Workshop was
completely fitting. Set in the confines of hard-working Eddie Carbone’s (Adam Pabani) 1950s Brooklyn home, the stage sees the breakdown of a good man through his self-destructive love for dutiful wife Beatrice (Melissa Taylor)
and their doting niece Catherine (Marina Hopkins), upon the arrival of illegal
Sicilian immigrant cousins Marco (Guido Cavaciuti) and Rodolpho (Caspar
Miller has a penchant for a tragic-hero (think Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman), and Eddie is not short of tragic qualities. When handsome and
opportunistic cousin Rodolpho sweeps his darling niece of her feet, Eddie is left to face the reality that he is no longer Catherine’s world, losing out to youth and the promise of happiness with Rodolpho that he can no longer provide. What determines his fate is how he deals with the truth, as Eddie is left to decide whether to accept his niece’s choice to grow up and marry Rodolpho or turn his lodgers into the police, risking not only the unhappiness of his family but the starving mouths of Marco’s children back home in Italy.
The word tragedy pretty much says it all, so three guesses to how the play ends. An emotionally charged and tense second act ensues lots of shouting, lots of tears and perhaps a murder thrown in the mix. By the end of the play you’re left only hoping that things could have turned out better for Eddie, who lived his whole life by halves to work for a family’s respect, only to be turned against at his darkest moment.
The casting was superb and I can gladly say that the performers did these wonderfully crafted characters justice. They did not shy away from emotion and the grittiness of the roles, and there is no shortage of that in Miller’s play. While the cast did a convincing performance overall, Pabani’s take on tragic-hero Eddie was one of the highlight’s of the evening, poignantly conveying the gradual downfall of a good man whose obsession with niece Catherine becomes too much to bear. Taylor was equally compelling as Eddie’s wife Beatrice, suffering the turmoil of a woman resigned to playing second best to Eddie’s doll-like Catherine. Worth a mention also is the fact that I love a decent Brooklyn accent
as much as the next guy and thankfully the actor’s did not disappoint. No cringe-
worthy Estelle accents for us here please Joey Tribbiani!
If you haven’t gone down to watch a UCL show before then do, because this
effortlessly cool and beautifully played adaptation of the Miller classic is a must see. The costumes and the setting may be of a distant era, but its themes are age-old: immigration, love, justice, insert tragic theme here…Think edgy, even a little eerie at times, director Nicholas Flooks and producer Charlie George Weedon’s adaptation is certainly different but delivered and directed with just as much class as the genius behind the lines. Congratulations to the UCLU Drama Society and Stage Crew as this show is not worth missing out on- the stampede of people queuing for last night’s sold out opening performance says it all!
To save you from shouting ‘Rodolpho!’ in your best Brooklyn accent the whole of the next day (or is that just me?)
Now excuse me, I’m off to perfect my Brooklyn accent. Keep chicky people.
Tickets are £3 showing at 7.30pm, Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd Feb.
Run time 100mins, including interval between Act 1 and 2.
Doors open at 7pm, so turn up early to guarantee a ticket!