A View from the Bridge

A View from the Bridge
By Arthur Miller. Ensemble Theatre, Sydney. Director: Iain Sinclair. 18 July – 24 August 2019

Imagine all the trappings of theatrical reality gone: the desk, the sofa, the pictures on the walls – everything. Here is a production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge stripped to the very bone, with a setting that consists of a black wall, one chair, a light switch and a wooden floor. There’s no complex lighting or sound plot, and the cast have one costume apiece. Believe me, it works a treat. 

This production by Iain Sinclair comes from Red Line Productions and had a highly successful, award-garlanded run at the 80-seat Old Fitz Theatre in 2017. Now it comes to the 220-seat Ensemble, as fresh as paint, as tight as a drum, revealing a cast as good as any in town.

The 1955 play, originally one act and in verse, was inspired by Greek Tragedy, where everyone knew from the get-go what was going to happen. There’s even a Chorus, a local solicitor (David Lynch), who more or less predicts the outcome from the beginning. Amazingly, the play speaks directly to us, gripping as it races to its foregone conclusion.

Eddie Carbone, hard-working Italian-born New York longshoreman (Anthony Gooley) has an unhealthy relationship with his 18-year-old niece Catherine (Zoe Terakes), watched with increasing anxiety by his wife Beatrice (Janine Watson). When two Italian illegal immigrants ask for accommodation, Eddie and Beatrice immediately agree, though exuberant Rodolpho (Scott Lee) and married Marco (David Soncin) can’t reveal to anyone where they live.

The die is cast, and Eddie seethes with resentment as the innocent Catherine falls heavily for Rodolpho. The tension builds, Eddie seethes and the violent confrontation predicted by the lawyer is inevitable.

The acting is truly superb. Anthony Gooley and Zoe Terakes are excellent, and Janine Watson is quite brilliant as the wife who struggles and shrieks her very best to avoid the inevitable. This 70-year-old play delivers the heavily predicted goods.

Frank Hatherley

Photographer: Prudence Upton

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