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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow A View from the Bridge
A View from the Bridge
Published on Sunday, 11 August 2013

5 stars

Zoo (venue website)
2-16 Aug, 9:35pm-10:55pm
Reviewed by Ellen Macpherson

 Recommended for age 12+ only.

Even though I studied it to death in school, this was my first time seeing a live production of A View From The Bridge. In the same space as they occupied with last year's phenomenal stage adaptation of 1984, UCLU Runaground have proved once again that they are a company to watch at the Fringe. Don't be put off by the rather odd modern visual on the flyer; this is a faithful adaptation, which has done the original work justice and would have made the playwright himself proud.

For those of you who might not have heard of this classic by Arthur Miller, it tells the tragic story of Eddie Carbone – an Italian-American longshoreman who is obsessed with his niece Catherine. He spirals into madness when Catherine falls in love with Rodolpho, an illegal Italian immigrant staying in their house. UCLU Runaground haven't put much of a spin on the original, but personally I liked it that way. It's a play that relies entirely on great acting, and this student group certainly have the chops to make this production utterly enthralling.

Acting with outrageously different accents is always a difficult procedure, and I've seen higher-profile figures do a lot worse. The Italian-American intonation can get a little Fran Drescher-esque at times, but it's still an impressive effort from a bunch of kids who live in England. The play flows smoothly, with flawless stage movement and transitions between scenes, and the use of multimedia is subtle enough to genuinely enhance the production. They've kept the stage simple, which serves to highlight the acting rather than any technological bells and whistles – and that’s exactly the point of staging an Arthur Miller play.

This production served to prove to me that plays are meant to be seen, not read. It truly deepened my understanding of the characters and helped me appreciate their complexity. Adam Pabani does a stellar job as Eddie, but special mention has to go to Melissa Taylor as Beatrice and Marina Hopkins as Catherine. Both of these actors were superb in bringing to life characters who can often be considered a little wooden. I certainly enjoyed Beatrice much more in this stage production than I did while reading the script.

Looking at the age of the play's director (Nick Flooks) is a little bit of a shock to the system. Youth productions often stand out for their creativity and innovation, but often include a strange modern twist on a classic. Flooks has avoided that trap – delivering a more mature production, both in terms of acting and artistic vision, than many other more experienced companies achieve. UCLU Runaground has managed to use the modern to its advantage in taking the play back to its classic roots... so if you're exhausted with the flashing strobe lights and techno soundtracks of other productions at the Fringe this year, take a step back into some old-school theatre with this masterclass of acting.

<< Look Back in Anger   Happy Never After >>

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