Monday, December 14, 2015

Broadway Theater Review: A View from the Bridge

Phoebe Fox, Mark Strong and Nicola Walker. Photo: Jan Versweyveld
A Different View of A View from the Bridge
By Lauren Yarger
Ivo van Hove is fast becoming one of my favorite directors. Anyone who can take a play like Arthur Miller's  A View from the Bridge and make it riveting, to me is a director to watch.

The play was revived on Broadway in 2010, but even Liev Schreiber and big-time film star Scarlett Johnasson weren't enough to make that story interesting for me. Every time I have read it or seen it I have wondered why people produce it. So I wasn't too excited to hear yet another revival was being staged this season (to coincide with the playwright's 100th birthday celebrations). But I'm glad it was.

This production comes to Broadway direct from two completely sold-out engagements in London, where it swept the 2015 Olivier Awards winning for Best Revival, Best Director, and Best Actor (Mark Strong), Van Hove's vision is drastically different. The characters are barefoot, to begin with, and walk around a stark cement-like set (designed by  Jan Versweyveld, who also does the Lighting Design) that evokes images of Greek tragedies -- or at least of the play Metamorphoses. And doesn't that seem appropriate?

To top that off, audience members are seated right up on either side of the stage for an up-close view of the bloodbath that overtakes the Carbone family in Brooklyn (and I do mean literal bloodbath -- that cement structure turns out to have a more sinister purpose than just  holding water...).

Eddie Carbone (Mark Strong) struggles with an inappropriate attraction to his young niece and ward, Catherine (Phoebe Fox). His wife, Beatrice (Nicola Walker) is aware of it and tries to help her niece gain some independence from under Eddie's watchful eye.

He doesn't approve when she starts dating Rodolpho (Russell Tovey , The History Boys), a cousin of Beatrice's, who along with his brother, Marco (Michael Zegen), arrive in the US (illegally) to find work with Eddie, who is a longshoreman.

Tragedy ensures when Eddie is unable to get a grip on his feelings about Catherine. Richard Hansell, a member of the original Young Vic company, reprises his role as Louis, a friend of Eddie's. Rounding out the cast are Michael Gould as Alfieri and Thomas Michael Hammond as Officer.

I might not be exactly sure why all the characters are barefoot, but I'll tell you I was engaged thinking about it for all two hours -- and even after I left the theater -- something I can't say about any other  versions of the play I have seen. I usually don't tend toward avant-garde theater, which some might think this is -- messing with a classic, after all -- but in this case, I say well done.

A View from the Bridge plays at the Lyceum Theatre, 149 West 45th St., NYC through Feb. 21.

Additional credits:
Costume Design by An D’Huys, Sound Design by Tom Gibbons.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- God's name taken in vain
-- Mature themes



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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

Copyright

All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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