Sketch: A View From The Bridge, Wyndham’s Theatre

A View From The Bridge

The Young Vic’s radical production of Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge, directed by the visionary Belgian Ivo van Hove, transferred to the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End last month. Mark Strong plays the central character Eddie Carbone, the honourable Brooklyn longshoreman with dishonourable love for his niece Catherine, played by Phoebe Fox. Both performances have been deservedly recognised with 2015 Olivier nominations, along with the director.

The cast perform in bare feet on an intensely lit space, that is stripped back with no set at all except a black box container that sits over it and defines the stage. It sold out even before it opened at the Young Vic and was the most anticipated transfer in the West End.

The Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, The Independent, Mail on Sunday, Time Out and The Times all gave the production five stars, describing it as “unmissable”, “unforgettable”, “magnetic”, “electrifying” and “astonishingly bold”. Time Out said, “To say that A View from The Bridge is the best show in the West End at the moment is like saying Stone Henge is the current best rock arrangement in Wiltshire.”

Mark, Phoebe and Nancy Walker, who plays Eddie’s wife, all signed a previous sketch I did at the Young Vic. This montage of Mark and Phoebe was signed by both of them last week at the Wyndham’s stage door, where I congratulated them for their Olivier noms.

The play’s limited 8 week engagement runs until 11 April.

Drawing: Richard Armitage and Sam Colley in The Crucible at The Old Vic Theatre

The Crucible Richard Armitage Sam Colley

Arthur Miller’s harrowing 1953 witch hunt classic The Crucible played London’s Old Vic Theatre this summer and was one of 2014’s hottest tickets. Directed by the multi-award-winning South African Yaël Farber, the three and a half hour production had critics spellbound, describing it as, “absorbing”, “it is what great theatre is all about”, “unmissable”, “a production of electrifying intensity”.

Based on the 17th century witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts (which the playwright uses as an allegory for McCarthyism in the 1950s) the play’s main protagonist is bewildered John Procter, a down to earth farmer played by Richard Armitage in what has been called, “an expressive turn, full of raw power”.

Making her professional stage debut as the antagonist ringleader Abigail Williams was a memorably sinister Samantha Colley. Charismatic and manipulative, she spreads rumours of witchcraft after a brief affair with John Procter, eventually accusing his wife of being “bewitched”.

This pencil sketch is a montage of Richard and Sam’s characters in the play which they both kindly signed.

Drawing: Mark Strong, Nicola Walker and Phoebe Fox in A View From The Bridge at The Young Vic

A View From The Bridge

The Telegraph’s Charles Spencer gave the Young Vic’s recent production of  A View From The Bridge five stars, stating, “this superb production of Arthur Miller’s modern classic, A View From The Bridge is one of the most powerful Miller productions (he) has ever seen.” He was not the only critic to award a five star rating.

The story of Brooklyn longshore man Eddie Carbone’s pride and unhealthy obsession with his niece leads him towards betrayal of his family and his community. Mark Strong, Nicola Walker and Phoebe Fox all excel according to The Guardian.

As Mark put it, “it’s… stark and bare and brutal” on an almost bare stage, similar to a minimalist art gallery. According to Spencer, he plays one of the greatest roles in modern drama, with “raw pain, inarticulate passion and emotional and physical violence. His eyes in Miller’s phrase, really like tunnels, a thousand mile stare of loss, dread and sexual confusion.”

A View From The Bridge finished its season on 7 June 2014.