The first time I saw A View From the Bridge Ken Stott’s performance as Eddie Carbone moved me to tears. That was nearly two years ago and I’ve been eager to seen another production ever since. So when I discovered a work trip to Edinburgh coincided with a run of the play at its Lyceum Theatre it was a too tempting an opportunity to miss.
This time Stanley Townsend took the part of Eddie. I last saw him on stage in the wonderful Tribes at the Royal Court and although he certainly made an impression it wasn’t the meatiest of roles.
Eddie is a filet steak of a role. He’s an over protective uncle in 1950’s Brooklyn who wants a better life for his niece Catherine (Kirsty Mackay) but who’s familial love is boiling a little close to the edge.
At first his reluctance to let Catherine take a job and go out into the world seems more to do with his inability to accept that she is growing up, that his father role is coming to an end. When Rodolpho and Marco, two Italian cousin’s of his wife Bea’s come to stay while working illegally and love blossoms between Rodolpho and Catherine, Eddie’s protectiveness unleashes deeper rooted feelings.
It’s a great story of a bear of man, with a good heart but who is cornered by his own pride and feelings and ends up doing something that goes against everything he stands for. So did Townsend and the Lyceum do it justice?
Kathryn Howden put in a great performance playing Bea, not as a shrinking, put upon wife but as a strong and canny woman fighting to reconcile her warring family.
The Lyceum’s revolve was put to good use as the action switches from the Carbone from room to the street outside and occasionally lawyer Alfieri’s office although it did occasionally feel like the actors were waiting for it to stop.
This production of A View From The Bridge while not quite matching the last I saw was a real treat. On my way to Edinburgh @foxyhlc tweeted what a lovely theatre the Lyceum is and she was right, it is. And it’s about a third of the price of the similar theatres in the West End.
A View From the Bridge gets four stars from me and is on until February 12.