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A View from the Bridge

Secondary School production 2003

Rehearsal images by Guy Atkinson and review by Simon Mount

The final scene

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Photos by Guy Atkinson

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A View From The Bridge - a review

The secondary school's production of A View From The Bridge was further proof that drama at St Julian's is in exceptionally rude health. Darren Scully's choice of Miller's tale of passion and betrayal at the height of Italian immigration to New York in the 1940s, set his ensemble a considerable challenge - any cop-outs here would have been painfully exposed which they met with consummate skill and great commitment.

Scully continues to defy logic by making a silk purse out of a pigs ear in terms of his use of space. On this occasion he had enlisted the support of venerable stage designer Terry Williams, and together they created four separate acting spaces each at a different level and angle of view for the audience. The action could thus continue uninterrupted by scene breaks and set changes, which went some way to ensuring that the pace never slackened and the emotional engagement with the audience was sustained.

Accomplishing this would not have been possible, however, without the technical excellence and emotional commitment of the acting. This was especially true in the exchanges between Eddie, played by Simão Cayatte, and his niece Catherine, played by Simão's sister Iris. If that last sentence confuses, the filial ties probably helped these two pull off the toughest of jobs in conveying the tensions involved in a complex and tragic relationship. Simão produced a technically solid performance that perfectly encapsulated the paranoia and denial of a man on the edge, whilst Iris was entirely credible as the exasperated object of his unspoken desire. The triangle was completed with Viki McMillan's impressive portrayal of Beatrice - the frustrated wife caught in the crossfire which revealed a quite exceptional level of maturity and control. Her volcanic outburst when her patience with Eddie finally snaps was especially memorable.

Martim Vaz Pinto, as the lawyer/narrator Alfieri, provided the necessary gravitas (along with the most convincing New York Italian accent) and accomplished Scullys desire for the audience to feel that sense of powerlessness and impending doom integral to Greek tragedy. Roberto Ferrara, the natural blond playing the dark and menacing Marco, and the dark haired Bernie Souza, as the frivolous blond Rodolpho, were equally effective as the touch papers in an already explosive concoction. Not only does each possess great stage presence, but Robertos baritone delivery was precisely suited to the laconic Marco, whilst Bernie was the original all-singing-all-dancing Rodolpho.

The support cast too played a key role in the success of the production with Ricardo Seabra, Damian Icely and Danny Ayash especially playing their parts with great aplomb.

The haunting music (saxophone, flute and piano) and composite set evoked Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront and were also essential ingredients of the heady mix.

Scully's greatest accomplishment lies in his giving his actors the confidence to achieve the emotional integrity of performance that a play like A View From The Bridge demands. They gave them what he wanted again in this production and the result was both highly accomplished and thoroughly enjoyable.

Simon Mount