|Phoebe Fox, Mark Strong & Nicola Walker in "A View From the Bridge"|
(photo: National Theatre Live/Young Vic)
The story, which takes place in the 1950's in an Italian American neighborhood near the Brooklyn Bridge, is narrated (as a sort of Greek chorus) by Alfieri (Michael Gould). It centers about a longshoreman, Eddie Carbone (Mark Strong), who is obsessed with his orphaned niece Catherine (Phoebe Fox) who lives with him and his wife Beatrice (Nicola Walker). Beatrice's cousins Marco (Emun Elliott) and Rodolfo (Luke Norris), undocumented aliens from Sicily, arrive in the U.S. in need of a safe haven. Eddie invites them to stay with his family, a decision he regrets when Catherine and Rodolfo begin dating without his permission. Jealous to the point of paranoia, Eddie forces Rodolfo to box with him, partly in response to rumors expressed by his co-worker Louis (Richard Hansell) about the immigrant's sexual identity (since he sings jazz, cooks, sews and loves to dance, and there was no concept of metrosexuality in the 1950's). When Eddie learns the young lovers have slept together and will marry, he suspects Rodolfo's aim is to obtain citizenship, so he kisses him passionately to embarrass him, ultimately turning the refugees in to the immigration authorities, a cardinal sin in the Italian American community. Arrested by a local Officer (Pádraig Lynch), they are freed on bail set up by Alfieri. Marco accuses Eddie of the betrayal, and a fight ensues, bringing the story to a tragic climax as the neighbors look on. The staging of the final scene in this version was wonderful, raw and ingenious.
Van Hove's direction was meticulously fine, well-nigh perfect. Strong was firmly at the head and heart of this terrific ensemble, with Walker and Fox equally memorable. Actually, the entire cast was absolutely marvelous. The creative team members are all on the same page, providing the spare and sparse Set and Lighting Design (by Jan Versweyveld), the extraordinarily accentuated Sound Design (by Tom Gibbons, and authentically simple Costume Design (by An D'Huys), with the added effective use of several parts of the Fauré Requiem, from the Kyrie to Libera me, domine. In a season that included such productions as “Skylight”, “The Audience” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”, each of which is now playing on Broadway, this latest broadcast was in many ways the most outstanding offering in National Theatre Live's very active and memorable year.
Screened at Cape Cinema in Dennis, MA; next from NTL: Stoppard's "Hard Problem" on April 16th