Theatre Review: A View From the Bridge

Mark Saturno as Eddie Carbone
Photo by Kate Pardey

Who: The State Theatre Company of South Australia

When: 16th July – 3rd August

Where: Dunstan Playhouse

The State Theatre Company continue their 2019 season with an Arthur Miller classic, A View from the Bridge. A domestic drama set in 1950s Brooklyn, the play portrays the plight of illegal Italian immigrants, reimagined on a dynamic and evocative set. 

What is compelling about A View from the Bridge is the set design and how it aids the play’s progression. The initial spectacle of the set alone sparks curiosity of how it could be manipulated and explored. Fitted with metal framing suspended by ever-swaying ropes, the raw, textured finish reminds the audience of the characters’ surrounding environment in this firmly domestic setting. Rough boards surround the edge of the stage to emulate the rivers’ dock, allowing the characters’ space to stroll and reflect. The set is complemented by atmospheric sound design that lingers throughout. As a result of this adaptive set design, the play has a strong physical component. Parts of the structure rise and fall, creating new staircases, landings and benches within the set. The actors jump and climb around the moving structure, as well as wait and lurk in its shadows. 

Photo by Kate Pardey

A View from the Bridge follows longshoreman Eddie Carbone and his partner Beatrice as they raise their orphaned niece, Catherine. With Catherine approaching adulthood, the protective Eddie is beginning to control her career choices and subdue her friendly, childlike nature to avoid attracting the attention of local men.

The family secretly welcome two illegal Italian immigrants, Marco and Rodolpho, into their home, in the hope of attaining stable employment. When an instant spark arises between the charming and happy-go-lucky Rudulpho and Catherine, Eddie’s hospitality begins to crack, making way to a deep-seated resentment as his paternal instinct descends into something more sinister and controlling.

Catherine (Maiah Stewardson) and Rodolpho (Antoine Jelk)
Photo by Kate Pardey

Mark Saturno depicts the reactive Eddie with such prowess, showing the duality of this troubled man. A blubbering infantile and dependent mess transforms into a frighteningly intimidating alpha male when provoked. The tension that builds up between Eddie surrounding the evident jealousy of his young niece’s affection is undeniably gripping and sends him into madness, leading to the betrayal of his family. What results is an explosive crescendo that shatters the family apart.

The powerful conflicts between the characters with the dynamic and alluring set design, make A View from the Bridge a worthy and unforgettable watch.

4 out of 5 stars

Milly Farmer

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