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A View from the Bridge | Chichester Festival Theatre

Arthur Miller’s classic, and still unsettlingly relevant, play is revived as a co-production with Chichester Festival Theatre, Headlong, Octagon Theatre Bolton and Rose Theatre. Set in 1950’s Brooklyn, in a neighbourhood dock called Red Hook, A View from the Bridge follows a working-class family, exploring themes of immigration, sexuality, possession and more.

Eddie and Beatrice, husband and wife, live with Beatrice’s sister’s daughter, Catherine, and take in Beatrice’s Italian immigrant cousins, Marco and Rodolfo. Five adults in one small apartment is bound to open the family to a degree of drama and that is exactly what this story successfully showcases.

Opening the show with a seemingly innocent portrayal of Eddie and Catherine’s relationship, we see the two reunite after some time apart. The deeper you get into the story, the more you understand that this relationship is more than expected; Eddie’s possessiveness over Catherine becomes uncomfortable, his reluctance to let her grow becomes clearer. Then examining the clever costuming by Moi Tran, Catherine wears somewhat modernised versions of her aunt’s dresses, forcing the audience to see the similarities between Eddie’s wife and niece.

Intentionally portraying Catherine so young and feminine, even though she is fast approaching adulthood, sets a perfectly uncomfortable atmosphere right off the cuff and it’s safe to say that you will never be able to get truly comfortable until the curtain call.

Possession over Catherine isn’t his only character flaw, Eddie confronts numerous challenges of his masculinity throughout the course of the play, the most notable being at the end of act one when Marco lifts a chair into the air with just one hand. To end the first act with Eddie seemingly having his authority questioned and challenged for the first time, it left the audience in a state of wonder, something that was relied on heavily in act two. With the majority of past and future audience members having the same or similar responses to the material, the direction of the production can simply rely on the audience building the tension for it.

There isn’t much to the set design; a few chairs and a swing are all that are really used. The focal point for the audience being the neon red lighting tubes spelling “Red Hook” on the blank canvas of a wall, the intensity of the red changing periodically to reflect the state of tension on the stage. It was as if the back of the stage was an audience member itself, boxing the on-stage action between us and the wall, it’s beating heart simply exposing how we all felt in those moments. This only enhances my previous statement that the audience members are left to build the tension and suspense themselves. When combined, this successfully created an unexpected immersive experience, that awoke more senses than any audience would have anticipated.

With such a minimal set, the talent on stage is only amplified and, in my opinion, expectations are higher because the audience want to feel more. This cast is truly remarkable; with Johnathon Slinger, Kirsty Bushelland Rachelle Diedericks giving some of the strongest performances possible. Diedericks’ portrayal of Catherine was truly something remarkable, the character growth displayed is something that even the most seasoned of actors couldn’t achieve with such ease.

A View from the Bridge is its own metaphor within the show, “the bridge” simply representing the path between entrapment and freedom. This revival itself has successfully crossed that bridge and is something that needs to be experienced. It is proof that good work can stand the test of time. Playing at Chichester Festival Theatre until October 28th before opening at Rose Theatre Kingston on October 31st, A View from the Bridge is not something to miss. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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