Notable Productions: A View From The Bridge - Reviews

This page presents extracts from some of the many reviews held in archive for Alan Ayckbourn's production of Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge.

"It is part of Alan Ayckbourn's considerable success as a director here that we are given the impression of an interdependent, almost tribal immigrant world where ostracism can be instantly imposed: it takes just the appearance of a few silent, unforgiving neighbours standing on their wrought iron fire escapes for this to come home. But they have also gathered to watch a ritual punishment and this is delivered by the young man's brother, Marco, who kills Eddie in a knife fight."
(The Spectator, 21 February 1987)

"Alan Ayckbourn's production is impeccable, and his cast is vastly superior to that of the first English production in 1956, (which I remember clearly despite having sat through it only a few feet away from the disturbing presence of the playwright's wife, Marilyn Monroe).
(Daily Telegraph, 14 February 1987)

"In any critic's life there are certain red letter nights. The new production of
A View From The Bridge at the Cottesloe is empathetically one of them. In the first place it shows Michael Gambon shaking hands with greatness. But Alan Ayckbourn's immaculately detailed production also banishes any doubts about Arthur Miller's play and vindicates its claim to be a modern tragedy.... Gambon is aided by a superb production by Alan Ayckbourn which combines minute details with a sense of large issues at stake."
(The Guardian, 14 February 1987)

"After a shaky South Bank start with an old farce which he ought to have been able to direct standing on his head, Alan Ayckbourn continues with this magnificent production of a piece utterly remote from his own theatrical territory.... There is a great deal of anger in the play: and one of the production's best qualities is to show it arising from bewilderment and hurt, so that you see how and why people become angry, rather than being confronted with a stage full of angry characters."
(Daily Mail, July 1967)

"This production shows him [Ayckbourn] to be a fluent and natural exponent of tragedy.... A good, compact production."
(Financial Times, 13 February 1987)

"A model of construction, without a single irrelevant scene or even sentence in its riveting two hours..... Here is an evening of theatre to appeal in equally abundant measure to the mind and the heart."
(Sunday Telegraph, 15 February 1987)

A View From The Bridge does not, in my opinion, stand with the best of Miller's plays, but you will be unlikely to see a better case made for it than this."
(The Observer, 15 February 1987)

"This may not be a particularly good time for new writing but there recently have been some fantastic productions. Now high on the list must add Alan Ayckbourn's gripping revival of Arthur Miller's Brooklyn tragedy.... Any creakiness in Miller's play is concealed in Ayckbourn's near perfect production, subtly suggesting the life and sounds of the surrounding community.
(Time Out, 18 February 1987)

"It is a considerable achievement in every respect, which he [Michael Gambon] must share with Alan Ayckbourn, whose direction, bringing out all those elements of classical tragedy that are the strength of the play, proves that any idea of categorising him as a comedy director is completely misplaced. This is aversion rich in atmosphere, with the feel of a working environment, also brilliantly conveyed by Alan Tagg's setting."
(The Stage, 19 February 1987)

"Alan Ayckbourn's production of Arthur Miller's
A View From The Bridge is one of the finest events to be presented at the National Theatre since it moved to the South Bank. It is fluent, authentic and nearly unbearably moving. The combination of this director, who we know in London for his own productions of his own well-knitted little jumpers of comedies designed for avoiding the cold, with this big, naked and very American play is unlikely. But Ayckbourn's last play, Woman In Mind, showing him moving - if not quite running - to something bigger and darker. A View From The Bridge not only suggests that he has made an enormous leap, but that he is one of the finest directors Britain has to offer.... When he wrote A View From The Bridge, Miller was formulating his ideas for a modern tragedy; in this production this passionate play achieves that status."
(New Statesman, 20 February 1987)

"It is impossible to praise Alan Ayckbourn's superb production of this terrible love story too highly. Alan Tagg's setting and Mick Hughes lighting are admirable in their quiet simplicity, and the acting has that rare excellence that can lift an audience out of a theatre and into a play."
(Punch, 25 February 1987)

"They are directed by Alan Ayckbourn whose authoritative production has surprised some people. It shouldn't. He has been running his own theatre at Scarborough for years, and his comedies (in which Gambon first came to prominence) are amongst other things, the work of a traditional theatre professional who happens to have an unblinking eye for the truth: a repertory director par excellence."
(International Herald Tribune, 18 February 1987)

"It is often said that Alan Ayckbourn is a playwright who directs his own plays better than anyone else and seems to do nothing but his own plays. Nonsense. For years at Scarborough Ayckbourn has been attempting productions like this - he calls
A View From The Bridge the meat in the sandwich of his triple bill at the National Theatre - and showing that a gift for comedy and subtle comedy at that can be a great advantage when facing up to the monster or looking over the abyss into the hell of other people. Ayckbourn, Gambon, this is already one of the finest productions of 1987 - it may also serve to render a piece that started off as a poetic one-act answer to On The Waterfront an even better and more enduring work of theatre than it is already.
(Plays International, April 1987)

Extracts From Reviews From The West End Transfer Of A View From The Bridge: Reviews

"High among the triumphs of Arthur Miller's seventh decade must be Alan Ayckbourn's revival of this 1950s piece, now in the West End after eight months of impregnably booked-out performances at the Cottesloe. It looked magnificent there: it now emerges as a masterpiece as overwhelming as any within living memory."
(The Times, 4 November 1987)

"Alan Ayckbourn's staging of the play is impeccable, and Alan Tagg has provided a beautifully atmospheric setting by the simple expedient of following Arthur Miller's stage directions. This is a production of which the National Theatre can be proud."
(Daily Telegraph, 5 November 1987)

"It remains one of the great productions of our time not only because of Michael Gambon's towering central performance but because Ayckbourn establishes the vital Miller connection between the tragic hero and the moral laws of the tribal community."
(The Guardian, 5 November 1987)

"Alan Ayckbourn's production balances intimacy with edgy hesitation in the domestic scenes, then shifts majestically to the thunderous climaxes."
(The Listener, 12 November 1987)

"It is hard to believe that there ever has been, or perhaps ever will be, a better production of Arthur Miller's
A View From The Bridge."
(Punch, 18 November 1987)

All reviews are copyright of the respective publication.