A View From the Bridge marks Open Space’s triumphal return to the stage

After interminable covid rescheduling, Open Space Theatre Company have finally been able to tour with their production of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge. Judging from the number of people that had come along to the Corn Hall, it’s a show that has been eagerly anticipated – I am pleased to report it was worth the wait.

The three leads were exemplary. It’s something we’ve come to expect from Cathy Edwards-Gill, but the fact she is always good shouldn’t detract from her sympathetic and well-drawn performance. Mabel Olliffe portrayed youthful Catherine with the authenticity and simplicity the role demands, making the most of a part that could so easily slip into coquettish caricature. Best of all, in a competitive field, was Darren France’s subtle and moving rendition of Eddie Carbone. Carbone’s descent from nice guy Eddie to arch villain is a tricky task to pull off. What he eventually does may be villainous, but he’s pathetic rather than wicked, and France seemed to understand this completely. His handling of Eddie’s queasy affection for his niece, coupled with his literal impotent rage, was superbly done, commanding the stage and the rapt attention of the audience.

Miller’s work now occupies that awkward space somewhere between period revival and contemporary theatre, and director David Green wisely decided to play it straight. Aside from Open Space’s signature musical prologue, and some slow motion business towards the end, the work was performed as written, neither self-consciously retro, nor unwisely updated. Despite being written in the 50s, its dual themes of immigrant workers and predatory male behaviour both resonated in these troubled times, offering up an evening as thought-provoking as it was entertaining.