GCSE Theatre Visit

Last week the GCSE English students were lucky enough to see a production of A View from the Bridge, by Arthur Miller, a play they have been studying in class. The Young Vic production at the Wyndham’s Theatre has received excellent press reviews. Here are some reviews from Brampton students.

Pooja wrote:
‘Overall, the production was excellent. The actors captured the main essence of the play and presented each scene clearly to the audience. Their performances made me see the play in a different way to the way I had imagined it when reading it in class.
Mark Strong, who played Eddie Carbone, depicted the main essence of Eddie’s character very well. Strong presented the change in Eddie’s character superbly: it was evident to the audience that Eddie’s behaviour gradually changes from the nice family man at the beginning of the play, to the nasty man that no one wants to talk to at the end of the play. Another aspect of the play that was shown clearly was the relationship between Eddie and his niece Catherine, played by Phoebe Fox, but I felt that there was too much intimacy between the characters. I also felt that Catherine was depicted too much as a child, when in fact the audience is meant to notice a gradual maturing in Catherine’s attitude and manner towards Eddie: in this production she remained childlike throughout the play.
Nicola Walker, who played Eddie’s wife Beatrice in the production, was an outstanding actress. She presented Beatrice’s character amazingly. She made it clear to the audience what her thoughts and feelings were towards the change in Eddie.
There were certain scenes that I thought could have been presented in a better way, such as the scene between Catherine and Rodolfo when they are at home by themselves. I felt that the intimacy in their relationship could have been expressed more powerfully, which would have made it clearer to the audience how their relationship was developing, despite Eddie’s disapproval.
The scene that I thought was most effective was the last scene of Act One, just after Eddie has spoken to Alfieri the lawyer. This scene involved the entire family together in the apartment. The tension between each family member was dramatically conveyed by the long pauses in between each conversation.

Daniel’s review:

‘The acting in this is superb. Certain characters come across very differently in performance, to the way they seem when reading the text in class. Eddie Carbone (Mark Strong) seems to shift from a one dimensional character, who deserves as much sympathy as he gives Vinny Balzano in the beginning of the play, to a layered character who seems to just be struggling and is clinging onto power. This allows the Greek Tragedy element of the play to come to the fore.
The character of Beatrice is performed superbly: although there is little to work with in the text, Nicola Walker gives her interest as a character, playing the role of the person who knew Eddie best. The chemistry between these two shows their relationship as being shaky because of the presence of Catherine and then slowly deteriorating throughout the play. This is shown through their body language and in their reactions to what the other says- and it is done amazingly well’.

Sophia wrote:

‘The play that I had the privilege of watching on 11 March 2015 was orchestrated in an unusual, artistic manner. The stage was a square with a white illuminated floor and a curtain that only moved during the start and end of the performance. Unusually, unlike other productions, there were no props, and the actors all performed bare- footed, except for Catherine when she wore high heels because of Rodolfo and Marco’s arrival, and Alfieri, until he was on stage with the other performers. I found that this was odd however and that it took away from creating the atmosphere of New York.
The scene I particularly liked was the death of Eddie, which may sound insensitive, but I say this because Eddie’s death was symbolised by the shower of blood, while the other characters huddled around him. This was quite creative and dramatic, emphasising to the audience the significance of that scene’.