'A View from the Bridge' review — Dominic West gives a strong performance in Miller's classic play

Read our review of A View from the Bridge, starring Kate Fleetwood and Callum Scott Howells, now in performances at Theatre Royal Haymarket until 3 August.

Olivia Rook
Olivia Rook

There are two tragic plays by great American writers of the 20th century currently enjoying a brief overlap in the West End: Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge. Both have big stars drawing in audiences — Succession’s Brian Cox and The Crown’s Dominic West, respectively — and in Miller’s play, the hype surrounding West is very much deserved.

He plays Eddie Carbone, a hardworking longshoreman who lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn with his wife Beatrice (Kate Fleetwood). Together they have raised their niece Catherine (Nia Towle), for whom he has complicated, unutterable feelings of desire, which are laid bare when Beatrice’s cousins Rodolpho and Marco arrive from Italy in search of work and money. In Rodolpho’s case, this also includes love, which he finds in the shape of Catherine — much to Eddie’s despair.

Callum Scott Howells view from the bridge LT 1200

West’s performance is multilayered: while his Eddie is a true patriarch, he is also amiable and capable of gentleness — at least in the beginning. When Catherine asks to begin a job as a stenographer, he is gradually worn down like a doting father giving in to his child, holding Catherine’s hand and gladly receiving her embrace.

But in Lindsay Posner’s finely tuned production, every touch lingers for a beat too long. From our first introduction to Eddie and Catherine, there is something uneasy about their intimacy, as she jumps into his arms, wrapping her legs around him like a young girl.

West also finds bitter humour in Eddie, sarcastically praising the way Rodolpho “sings,” “cooks,” and “makes dresses.” However, as the play progresses and his hold over Catherine weakens, West becomes more prone to brutish outbursts and desperate attempts at regaining control, declaring repeatedly “I want my respect.” West’s nuanced performance takes Eddie on a journey from a breadwinner and much-loved father figure to an unreasonable, raving tyrant, making his downfall all the more tragic.

While West brings the star pulling power to the production, he is far from being the only talent on stage. Fleetwood shines as his pained but loyal wife Beatrice, who quietly recognises the uncomfortable relationship that forms between Eddie and Catherine. So much is implied between Miller’s characters, an example being when Beatrice calmly explains to Catherine that she’s “a grown woman [living] in the same house as a grown man,” and therefore it’s time to move on.

LT 1200 Kate Fleetwood Nia Towle view from the bridge

It’s a Sin’s Callum Scott Howells is a perfect foil to West’s embittered and possessive Eddie. Scott Howells humorously leans into some gentle affectations, such as a flick of the hair, and highlights the cultural gulf between himself, brother Marco (passionately played by Pierro Niel-Mee), and the Carbones, delivering a well-executed Italian accent. Towle is convincing as the youthful Catherine, who is both horrified and confused by Eddie’s behaviour once the scales fall from her eyes.

This classic staging of Miller’s play is accomplished, but it could afford to excise or adapt some elements, such as the exposition offered by narrator and lawyer Alfieri, which needs to be woven into the production more creatively.

Peter McKintosh’s simple design captures the play’s drab, domestic setting, with the walls covered in wooden slats and a few chairs and a table scattered across the stage. The production leaves the actors nowhere to hide, but Posner’s accomplished cast is more than up to the job.

Book A View from the Bridge tickets on London Theatre.

Book Tickets CTA - LT/NYTG

Main photo credit: Dominic West and Kate Fleetwood, second image: Callum Scott Howells, final image: Fleetwood and Nia Towle. (Photos by Johan Persson)

Originally published on

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