Updated 01/26/2010 06:46 PM
NY1 Theater Review: "A View From The Bridge"
Film star Scarlett Johansson made her Broadway debut Sunday night playing opposite Liev Schreiber in a new production of Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge." NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
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It's no secret that Arthur Miller was aiming for Greek tragedy when he wrote "A View From The Bridge" and so it's fitting that the current Broadway revival would cast a couple of titans in two key roles. Led by Liev Schreiber and Jessica Hecht, we get a shattering view of the Miller classic.
Schreiber is Eddie Carbone, a longshoreman living in Red Hook, Brooklyn in the 1950s with his wife Beatrice and their niece Catherine. Miller was clearly intrigued by the cultural and ethnic forces at work in the blue collar Italian neighborhood. The tightly knit community shared a prescribed code of behavior that defined their lives. And whoa to anyone who defied them.
The Carbones, like many others at the time, routinely opened their doors to relatives, illegals escaping the poverty of the home country. A pair of cousins, Marco and Rodolpho, arrive from Italy searching for work and opportunity.
Conflict emerges when Catherine and Rodolpho develop a romantic attraction and it becomes clear that Eddie’s feelings for Katherine are unnaturally close. Driven by his obsession with her, tragedy does indeed strike.
Director Gregory Mosher stages the play with an intense realism that makes us feel as though we’ve stepped into a time machine. The creative synergy is exceptional -- the technical designs and performances all in absolute sync. This is a subtle, brooding production that builds in emotional power and by the end, even the melodramatic conclusion has us sucked in.
The entire company is solid. Michael Cristofer’s lawyer, Alfieri, who serves as narrator adds great texture to an otherwise dispensable role. The cousins -- Corey Stoll and Morgan Spector -- are terrific.
A de-glamorized Scarlett Johansson, making her Broadway debut, shades Catherine with the dimensions of an innocent teenager on the cusp of womanhood. And she holds her own beautifully on that stage. That’s very high praise given the superlative work surrounding her.
So wrenching is Jessica Hecht's performance as the steadfast Bea, you almost fear for her emotional sanity. And Liev Schreiber is utterly captivating. His self-destructive descent is an acting lesson in itself.
"A View From The Bridge" has never been regarded in quite the same class as Miller’s "Death of A Salesman" but so good is this production it elevates the play's status. Alfieri admires Eddie for his purity. We admire the collaborative art that makes for such purely first rate theatre.