In 1950s New York, hardworking longshoreman Eddie Carbone lives a simple life with his wife and niece deep in an immigrant community. When two of her Sicilian cousins arrives, slowly Eddie's life begins to change forever.
Karimi plays Eddie Carbone, a dream role for an actor, and a dream of an actor in the role. Raw, gritty, you follow the path that Eddie takes in a fixated state, even those, like myself who have seen it before, can find new depths in Karimi's performance. The final scenes, which I will not impart of their content, are staggering in their emotion. The swagger and physical movement Karimi bestows is simply incredible, and no, at that point, you don't see acting, you see Carbone and every bit of trauma that has brought him to this place in his life.
Laura Pyper is understated and controlled as Beatrice, witnessing her troubled husbands torment calmly despite how much it clearly troubles her and his relationship with Catherine. As Catherine, Lili Miller delights in her innocence at events, a sort of lack of understanding of things, which makes the eventual events all the more traumatic. Like all the roles, the realism of how she performs is stunning.
Reuben Johnson has less to say than most in his role as Marco, but in the perfection of casting, you feel you could not find any better. His moments of stunning confrontation with Eddie are raw, animalistic moments of tension, and they both are exceptional moments of theatre, which Johnson leads.
Rhys Jarman's set is simple and effective, offering a glimpse at Eddie's workplace at the start before falling back to his home for much of the rest of the play. Yvonne Morley as voice and dialect coach has done an exceptional job creating within the cast some of the clearest and crisp quality dialects I have heard for a while. Finally, a strong local community ensemble breathes depths into the scenes, forming the "community" itself, making the area thrive more with activity.
A View from the Bridge is superb, the best Miller production I have seen to date, and with an exceptional cast and creative team bringing an uncomplicated freshness to the show. A play for today, yes, but, this time, it doesn't force us to acknowledge that, but treats its audience with respect and allows us to take our own meaning. Superb!
Raw, gritty and emotionally stunning. This is Miller and A View from the Bridge at its very best.
Performance reviewed: Wednesday 16th October 2019 at the Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton.
A View from the Bridge runs at Royal & Derngate until Saturday 26th October 2019.
Photos: Ian Hodgson