Ivo van Hove directs Mark Strong in a stripped back production of Arthur Miller's classic play A View From the Bridge at the Young Vic. The script has been trimmed to two hours straight through and the stage is a stark, under lit pit - like a light-box - with clear-walled benches at its perimeter.
The lawyer and narrator Alfieri (Michael Gould) stalks the area between the stage and audience, his presence a reminder of his warnings of what is to come.
It concentrates the attention purely on the performances which are shot through with a sexual tension unlike I've experienced before in watching the play. Phoebe Fox's Catherine is a beautifully observed confusion of childlike behaviour and desire to grow up. She's not quite ready to relinquish the little girl relationship she has with her uncle Eddie (Mark Strong) and is just beginning to understand the power of her sexuality.
Mark Strong's Eddie is equally complex. He isn't ready either to give up that adult/child relationship and is possessively protective but there is something that isn't quite parental in his caresses and cuddles which is uneasy to watch. As Catherine's relationship with illegal immigrant Rodolpho (Luke Norris) develops there is a violent and panicked battle going on inside Eddie. It adds to the growing tension of the piece and feeling of discomfort, the pregnant pauses grow culminating in his violating Catherine with a kiss on the mouth and then much worse.
The play opens with Eddie and a co-worker showering after a hard days graft at the docks (what has Tom Hiddleston started?) and similarly finishes with a shower, only this later one has far more dramatic impact both physically and symbolically but to say more would be a spoiler.
This production is like watching an accident happen in slow motion and being powerless to tear your eyes away. It is gripping and affecting and a refreshingly simple take on a classic play, everyone involved deserves much credit.
A View From The Bridge runs until June 7.
Had to find a connection with leading man Mark Strong and he worked with the lovely James McAvoy who of appeared in photo shoot with Mr W