A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
After last year's NODA award-nominated production of Far From The Madding Crowd, the Fourblokes team presented a stunning contemporary interpretation of this seminal American play. Set in an Italian-American neighbourhood in Brooklyn in the 1950s, it tells the story of the Carbone family - Eddie, Beatrice and their niece Catherine. As Eddie takes in Beatrice's cousins from Italy, Marco and Rodolpho, the burgoening relationship between Catherine and Rodolpho troubles the hard-working docker Eddie in an unexpected way, setting off a chain of devastating events that will change all of them.
Cast and Creative Team
Eddie | Toby Bradford
Louis | Jason Parker
Alfieri | Mik Horvath
Catherine | Lisa Ambalavanar
Beatrice | Sandy Lane
Marco | Adam Guest
Rodolpho / Joshua C Sly
Immigration Officer / Lou Jenkins
Director | Barry Taylor
Set Construction Manager | Joe Bancroft
Light & Sound Designer | Jamie Vella
Promotion Filming | Ben Sherwin
Poster & Programme Design | Marie Stone
Rehearsal Photography | Chris Clarke
Promotion Manager | Phil Simcox
Fourblokes ASM / Rehearsal Manager | Maureen Tierney
Costume & Props Manager / Marie Stone
Finance Manager / Trudy Taylor
FOH Managers / Kevin & Sandy Lane
Website & H&S Officer | Marie Stone
Social Media Manager | Ben Sherwin
Company Chair / Production Support | Mik Horvath
"...witness this incredible, most impressive and outstanding piece of theatre..."
A man’s desperate battle with his own flaws frames a tragedy that engulfs an entire family in this compelling bleak drama.
A View From The Bridge follows an Italian-American family in the late 19th century.
Patriarch Eddie is over-protective of his wife Beatrice’s niece, Catherine/Katy, and is unreasonably jealous of her attraction to newly arrived illegal Italian immigrant Rodolpho.
Rodolpho is not like the other longshoremen he works among; he cooks, sews, and sings, unlike his stoic, married older brother Marco.
His exotic nature enchants Katy, and enrages Eddie. Matriarch Beatrice tries her best to make Eddie see reason, but Eddie’s pride and unreasonable behaviour spirals out of control, drawing everyone inexorably into a denouement which is devastating as it is inevitable.
Arthur Miller’s work almost forensically examines how pride, stubbornness, betrayal and loss of dignity can destroy lives when not tempered by reason.
Fourblokes Theatre Company excel at character drama, and their ability to develop three-dimensional, recognisable characters with flaws, foibles and virtues of their own, real enough for us to despair as they fail and fall into tragedy and to cheer when their better natures triumph, is second to none on Derby’s amdram scene.
Played out on the stunning 400 Hall stage at Repton School, this production is another polished example of their hard work, dedication and talent.
Adam Guest’s Marco is a hulking, brooding presence, while Joshua C. Sly’s Rodolpho is engaging, effervescent and romantic, his counterpoint to the more traditional other male parts refreshing.
Lisa Ambalavanar’s Catherine/Katy is forthright, headstrong and full of energy, her burgeoning sexuality the engine that fuels the tragedy.
Sandy Lane’s Beatrice is spirited, outspoken and strong, the heart of the Carbone family, whose yearning for her husband to return to being the man he was is heartbreaking to witness.
Mik Horvath’s Alfieri manages to imbue the lawyer/narrator’s part with humour, pathos, compassion and integrity, his monologues a particular highlight of the show.
But Toby Bradford’s descent into emotional desolation and eventually blind rage as torn protagonist Eddie is a revelation; his despairing inability to understand his urges and their repercussions is a clear-eyed, unflinching stare into the soul of a man whose overbearing love for his niece eventually undoes everything in his life.
Nobody in this heart-wrenching tale is evil, or entirely good: these are recognisable, everyday people, whose urges make or break their lives against a backdrop of late 19th century deprivation and the hardscrabble lives of families who lived day-to-day in grinding poverty.
These productions are this company’s stock in trade. It would be easy to miscalibrate performances in such tragic dramas: too little emotion and the audience is unengaged, too much and the melodrama becomes laughable.
But A View From The Bridge walks the line perfectly, making this production look effortless, an evening of captivating performances and a gripping story assured.
Once again, Fourblokes Theatre Company have crafted a superb and rewarding glimpse into hard lives lived to the fullest. Don’t miss this.
A View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller is a two-act play set by the docks of Red Hook, a working-class part of Brooklyn, New York. It is narrated by lawyer, Alfieri, and revolves around the Carbone family – Eddie, his wife Beatrice and their niece Catherine. The family take in two illegal immigrants from Sicily, Marco and Rodolpho, who are Beatrice’s cousins. Catherine and Rodolpho are attracted to each other, which really annoys Eddie. The tension builds and builds and when they decide to get married, Eddie does an unforgivable thing – he reports the cousins as illegal immigrants and when realising who did this, his family and neighbours hate him. After promising not to attack Eddie, Marco is released from prison on bail. However he reneges on this promise and does seek his revenge. During an ensuing fight, Eddie produces a knife which Marco uses to stab him. Eddie dies in Beatrice’s arms.
Toby Bradford, as Eddie Carbone, gave an absolutely outstanding portrayal of a man who is totally obsessed with his niece Catherine who he and his wife have brought up from a young age. He seemingly doesn’t want to admit that he is extremely possessive and has developed sexual feelings for her – he thinks he is looking out for her and wanting the ‘best for her’. Eventually this takes over his life at the expense of everything else around him. The passion, the frustrations, the anger, the turmoil, the agony, the jealousy, the pride and fanatical obsessions were all so graphically delivered by Toby – it was such a remarkable piece of acting, I cannot praise him enough – he was just brilliant! His wife, Beatrice, was superbly played by Sandy Lane. She had a real depth of understanding of the character and delivered this with such fervent emotion and she so movingly captured the disintegration of her marriage and the man she loves. A truly heart-rending and poignant performance.
As Catherine, Lisa Ambalavanar was a breath of fresh air in this otherwise quite depressing scenario. She was full of life and energy, so happy, caring and loving whilst not realising and not choosing to understand the true depth of feelings and possessiveness emanating from her Uncle Toby. The love she has for Rodolpho brings about a change in her and she becomes more forthright as the play proceeds – another fine performance. Mik Horvath was perfect as Alfieri who is both narrator and local lawyer. He delivered a powerful and authoritative portrayal as the lawyer trying his best to show compassion for Eddie’s situation whilst telling him how he stood with regards to the law.
As the elder brother Marco, Adam Guest was ideally suited to the role. He oozed an underlying broodiness that could be conveyed with just a look! He played the role of peacemaker but in the end his beliefs in traditional unwritten Italian law came to the fore as he finally seeks his revenge. As a contrast, his younger brother Rodolpho, is a much more out-going character and Joshua C Sly captured this wonderfully. He was charming, charismatic, happy-go-lucky and so animated and enthusiastic about his new life and his love for Catherine but in the end it was he who became the peacemaker showing his willingness to accept responsibility rather than see his brother and Eddie in conflict.
Good support came from Jason Parker as Louis and Lou Jenkins as the Immigration Officer.
The action took place in the bare backyard of the Carbone’s house with a couple of seating areas and centre steps leading up into the house. The lighting, background music and sound effects were excellent. To do justice to this play it is paramount that you have good actors and these actors were not just good they were totally awesome. The company had to move from a theatre in the centre of Derby, because of renovations, to a lovely one, but out of town, at Repton School. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the audiences throughout the run were quite sparse and it is such a shame that more people didn’t get to witness this incredible, most impressive and outstanding piece of theatre. Every accolade must go to everyone involved.