A View From The Bridge | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

A View From The Bridge 

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A View From The Bridge, Raven Theatre. There are some plays so excellent that even an average production will rivet attention. Witness Miller's tragedy about Brooklyn longshoreman Eddie Carbone, whose creepy infatuation with his teenage niece, Catherine, leads to his destruction. Frequently revived and now adapted into a highly acclaimed opera at the Lyric, Miller's 1955 play has lost none of its relevance or its impact.

Directing in a very straightforward and unembellished style for Raven, Michael Menendian skillfully keeps the focus on Miller's text so that the production's less effective performers won't detract from the overall effect. Mike Vieau brings fire and pathos to the role of Carbone: he's so fiercely committed that even when his delivery comes perilously close to Robert DeNiro's in Mean Streets, he never fails to convince. And as Marco, one of two illegal Italian immigrants Carbone takes in, Ed Cunningham is both gentle and commanding.

But several other actors struggle with their accents, particularly Jordan Teplitz as Alfieri, the lawyer who advises Carbone not to take the law into his own hands when he suspects his second boarder, Marco's brother Rodolpho, of trying to marry Catherine to gain American citizenship. Speaking in a garbled accent, Teplitz renders many of the play's key speeches unintelligible. Still, it's better to see 80 percent of prime Miller than 100 percent of just about anybody else.

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