The Young Vic, often described as London’s “sexiest theatre,” continues it’s season with a provocative piece of theatre that engulfs you from beginning to end. Arthur Miller delves into the complex family issues of an Italian immigrant family in Red Hook, New York in his masterpiece A View from the Bridge. No one writes family drama like Miller, and this play takes the family dynamic up a notch.
Perhaps the most enticing aspect of Miller’s style is that his writing is full of foreshadowing so that the audience knows a big twist is coming but can never quite guess what it will be.
Ivo van Hove’s adaptation of the play takes a minimalist approach to highlight the powerful moments without overindulging in emotion. Swells in music and subtle changes in lighting, in particular, intensely underscore the constant conflicts of the play and fuel the weight of the show. Van Hove utilizes the Young Vic’s thrust stage perfectly to cater to all sides of the audience while still creating a believable world onstage, so there’s no bad seat in the house. In fact, I found that working in a space surrounded by audience on three sides lends itself to more realistic interactions between the actors and made it feel like I was truly looking in on their private world.
Mark Strong, who takes on the lead role of Eddie, goes through a character arc unparalleled in theatre and rises to the challenge magnificently by walking the fine line of earning the audience’s sympathy without being particularly likeable. The entire production is solidly cast, although the American immigration officer’s Irish accent seemed out of place within the story and is my one criticism. This was one play where I found that I completely understood each person’s side of the story, which I accredit to strong choices made by the whole cast.
The climax of the show perfectly brings together all of the elements of the production to leave an impression that is unshakeable and leaves the theatre with you. Between the superb actors and captivating story, A View from the Bridge is not to be missed.
- By Arthur Miller
- Director: Ivo van Hove
- Cast: Mark Strong, Nicola Walker, Phoebe Fox, Luke Norris, Emun Elliot, Michael Gould, Jonah Russell
- The Young Vic, London
- Until 7th June 2014
- Review by Blair Bou-Chebl
- 12 April 2014