Tobacco Factory

A View From The Bridge

April 2018

Daddy's girl dilemma

Arthur Miller’s acclaimed A View From The Bridge, held a full-house spellbound on stage at the Tobacco Factory Theatres on opening night.

Set in 1950s America, in a slum Italian American neighbourhood near Brooklyn Bridge, it tells the tragedy of Eddie Carbone, (perfectly played by Mark Letheren) a longshoreman who has spent his hard-working life at the docks.  

He hasn’t put a foot wrong raising his orphaned niece and it’s all about to go horribly wrong in record time.

Alfieri (Simon Armstrong) is the narrating neighbourhood lawyer, who hails from Italy and is the sympathetic ears and eyes of local law.

He understands the difference justice and acts as Arthur Millar’s moral mouthpiece.

Eddie, with lively wife, Beatrice, have raised Catherine, like a daughter.

He’s gone hungry to feed this child and wants to ensure she takes a step up in the world but what he doesn’t see is how overwhelmed he feels when she suddenly blossoms into a young and beautiful 17-year-old and jealousy spirals out of control.

The trigger is the illegal arrival of Beatrice’s male cousins from Sicily.

Eddie becomes beside himself at Catherine’s budding romance with handsome blonde, funny, all-singing, dancing, cooking and sewing Rodolpho.

We watch Eddie silently (and not so silently) seethe, sweat and picks arguments both physical and mental.

Beatrice guesses and asks why he doesn’t want sex with her anymore?

There’s no answer because the writing is on the wall but Eddie can’t and won’t read it.

Miller is pitch-perfect at dissecting the souls of ordinary men and women and I love his plays for that.

Eddie Carbone is an honourable man, whose name is everything to him but plummeting fast into a dark and dangerous struggle with himself.

As his world unravels an act of terrible betrayal follows.

This is the Tobacco Factory’s new artistic director’s, Mike Tweddle’s first play and he holds it superbly together.

While it was written for the 1950s, it’s an easy jump to the 21st century with its focus on immigration and what universal changes love brings (for good and bad).

Mike said: "It’s action-packed and thrilling, and features the terrible demise of a flawed man and the impact on wider society.

"Miller’s writing is perfect.

"He tells a domestic story with microscopic detail and insight, at the same time offering a powerful political critique that raises vital questions around immigration, gender and morality."

I loved Aaron Anthony’s portrayal of Marco, Rodolopho brother (Joseph Tweedale) who jumps ship to America to put food and medicine into the mouths of his three small children back in Italy.

He is the moral backbone of the play and his silence and words are the most heartfelt.

Catherine, (Laura Waldren), ably portrays the young girl, who adores her uncle but must tear herself from him to grow up.

And batting on her side is Katy Stephens, (Beatrice), and your heart goes out to her because she sees exactly what is wrong with her husband and how little she can do about it.  

Alongside the professional cast there is a group of adults –Get On Stage Community Company - who have attended a 10-week theatre course with Mike Tweddle before joining rehearsals of the production and taking on ensemble roles in the show.

They were fantastic and I would happily have seen them with more lines and action.

If there was one criticism, and it’s a tiny one, it’s very difficult to sustain American/Italian accents and I’m not sure it’s needed or that Millar would have been the slightest bit bothered.

A port is a port anywhere in the world.

Melanie Greenwood

  • POSTSCRIPT: Tickets from £12. For more information go www.tobaccofactorytheatres.com, email tickets@tobaccofactorytheatres.com or call 0117 9020344. Age recommendation 12+ as it contains scenes of a violent nature.

Brooklyn unabridged PREVIEW

Arthur Miller’s acclaimed A View From The Bridge runs from Wednesday to Saturday, April 18-May 12, at the Tobacco Factory.
 Set in 1950s US, in a slum Italian American neighbourhood near Brooklyn Bridge, it stars Eddie Carbone, a longshoreman who has spent his hard-working life at the docks. 

With his mouthy wife, Beatrice, he has raised his orphaned niece, Catherine, like a daughter. When Beatrice’s cousins arrive from Sicily, illegally, he doesn’t approve of Catherine’s budding romance with Rodolpho.

In fact, he does everything he can to break them up.

The play is said to be based on a true story Miller overheard.

While Eddie Carbone is an honourable man he faces a dark, dangerous struggle with himself that sees his world unravel and an act of terrible betrayal which turns into a disaster.

Artistic director Mike Tweddle said: "It’s action-packed and thrilling, and features the terrible demise of a flawed man and the impact on wider society.

"Miller’s writing is perfect.

"He tells a domestic story with microscopic detail and insight, at the same time offering a powerful political critique that raises vital questions around immigration, gender and morality."
Those lucky enough to see Macbeth at the Tobacco Factory will remember Katy Stephens (Lady Macbeth) who plays Beatrice, opposite Mark Letheren (The Crucible, Bristol Old Vic) as Eddie. Laura Waldren (aged 13, of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School) makes her proffessional debut for the Factory company plays Catherine and Simon Armstrong takes on the part of lawyer/narrator Alfieri.
Alongside the professional cast there is a group of adults – Get On Stage community company - who have attended a 10-week theatre course with Mike Tweddle before joining rehearsals of the production and taking on small ensemble roles in the show.
Tickets from £12.

For more information online click HERE, email tickets@tobaccofactorytheatres.com or call 0117 902 0344.
There is a British Sign Language Interpreted performance on Thursday, April 26, 7.30pm and post-show talk on Wednesday, May 2. 
Age recommendation 12+ (contains scenes of a violent nature).

Rehearsal photos Mark Dawson

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