It could have been a misfortune of timing for Radio 3 that the centenary of Arthur Miller’s birth should fall in the same year as the acclaimed London theatre production of A View from the Bridge.
A radio season celebrating Miller would not be complete without a production of this drama about Italian immigrant workers on the Brooklyn docks in the 1950s, often considered his greatest play. But how to compete with the Young Vic’s version for which Mark Strong won an Olivier award as best actor and Ivan van Hove best director?
The solution was to move recording to the USA and employ a superb all-American cast, bringing an unparalleled grit and authenticity. The lead role of Eddie Carbone is played by Alfred Molina, the British actor who has taken American citizenship, and he digs deep to emote the character’s overwhelming and destructive obsession for his wife’s niece. The transition from genial if assertive host to a pair of Italians who have entered the country illicitly to a man consumed by a febrile jealousy is utterly credible.
The veteran award-winning Hector Elizondo has an irresistibly gravelly wisdom as narrator Alfieri, while Jane Kaczmarek, playing Eddie’s wife, resonates with the painful knowledge of the disaster that is to unfold. Melissa Benoist, as her niece, is an innocent made steely by events,
Director Martin Jarvis elicits a claustrophobic cauldron of emotions and sense of calamitous inevitability in a production which has the timelessness of Greek tragedy.