Friday, 17 April 2015

'A View From The Bridge' at Wyndham's Theatre

A powerful new production of 'A View From The Bridge' is on at Wyndham's at the moment, transferred from the Young Vic. Mark Strong has just won best actor in the Olivier Awards for this play, so that tells you all you need to know.

It\s a painful, slow play, gradually developing its themes and telling its story, slowly getting more complicated and murky as truths start to emerge. The tension starts to mount early on as the small family becomes more dysfunctional and the young girl who I originally thought was meant to be about 12 turns out to be more like 18 but kept a child by an over-bearing father figure who doesn't know what he's doing. That's Eddie, the Mark Strong character. But we can see it.

When two cousins arrive from Italy as illegal immigrants Eddie takes against the younger cousin who is blond, likes singing and dancing and can even sew. He can't express what he feels, can only say that he's 'different', that he's 'wrong' whereas what he means is that he thinks he's gay. Or, more accurately, that he's a threat to his relationship with his adopted daughter. His frustration at not being able to express his thoughts and feelings is almost painful to watch and experience. And just ratchets up the tension.

To get rid of the threat of the cousin Eddie reports them to immigration and starts his downfall as he's now shunned by neighbours and friends alike. He wants his name back but can't see that it's his own fault that he's lost it. His daughter and the blond cousin plan to marry but the other cousin can't forgive Eddie since he's now lost his means of making money to send back to his starving family. He attacks Eddie with a knife and the family and friends try to pull them apart as a rain of blood starts as the people form a pyramid of humanity drenched in blood. And the pyramid collapses…

And I don't know what happens next in the last minute of the play since a woman in front of me chose that moment to switch on her mobile phone to check for messages. I mentioned that here but by the time she switched off her phone the final lines had been said and the lights went out. At the peak of all that tension and I miss it because of a selfish woman who thinks she can do as she likes.

I thought about going back to see the play again so I could see it all the way through but don't think I could take all that tension and frustration again. So this is a rather frustrating end to a blog...

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