I liked this as well as I could. Ivo von Hove is a very thoughtful director, but he’ll never be my favorite. Arthur Miller isn’t my favorite classic American playwright, and this isn’t even my favorite play of Milller’s. Hove’s production of Miller’s A View from the Bridge, is, however, the most lucid work I’ve seen from this sometimes opaque auteur director. It’s rock-solid theater for sure, but not quite up to the mark of director Gregory Mosher’s production a few seasons back.
What irks me most about this play is its strong strain of homophobia. When Brooklyn longshoreman Eddie Carbone, the protagonist of A View from the Bridge, says that Rodolpho, a fresh-off-the-boat Italian immigrant, “isn’t right” or is a “punk,” he’s certainly insinuating something about his sexuality.
I mean, sure, the homophobia we’re seeing isn’t a reflection of Miller’s own attitude toward homosexuality (whatever that might have been). Eddie is covering up the real reason he doesn’t like Rodolpho, namely that the newcomer has very heterosexual intentions towards Eddie’s 17-year-old niece Catherine — to whom Eddie has himself developed an uncomfortably possessive attachment. Also, Miller wrote the play in 1955, a long time before anybody knew what the word homophobia even meant. But all that doesn’t make hearing so much of this crap fun.
It helps that Eddie is being played with great sensitivity by broodingly thugish English actor Mark Strong. Hunky Russell Tovey is another standout, giving Rodolfo an extra dose of charisma and charm. Worth seeing, but I didn’t find it the revelation some other people felt it to be.
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To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.