The Young Vic was deservedly named the London Theatre of the Year in The Stage's 2015 Awards for its work in the previous year, which included a blistering, brilliant new production of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge originated there by the Dutch director Ivo van Hove.
The Young Vic used be the main London home for Miller plays during director David Thacker's reign at the helm of the theatre in the 80s. But that era ended when he stepped down in 1993. Now the Young Vic is one of our most essential and vital theatres again, so it's appropriate that Miller has returned to pride of place. But this is a Miller play as I've never seen it before: stripped back with no set at all except a black box container that defines the stage space and sits over it enclosing it at the start and finish of the evening. And it is performed with a churning intensity and deadly focus for nearly 2 unbroken hours that's both upsetting and exhilarating, by turns.
As Eddie Carbone, a Brooklyn longshoreman, grapples with an unspoken longing for the young niece of his wife who lives with them, a very human tragedy unfolds when the girl falls in love with one of the two illegal immigrant men who come to stay. Mark Strong, who recently won the Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Actor for his mesmerising performance here as Carbone, is quietly yet furiously stunning; painfully isolated from his wife (a beautifully understated Nicola Walker), he cuts a figure of lonely distress that's palpable.
van Hove's production keeps the tension at breaking point throughout. There's a combustible energy but also piercing sadness to the dramatic inevitability of its story. Unmissable.
"Mark Strong, Nicola Walker and Phoebe Fox star in a menacing, meticulously conceived production. It’s like watching a runaway train hurtle towards you."
Lyn Gardner for The Guardian
"Strong gives a notable performance of brooding intensity as a man unexpectedly perplexed by a life that always used to be simple."
Fiona Mountford for The Evening Standard
"I recommend it but I can’t help observing that I was far more swept away by Miller’s vision of an ordinary guy felled by epic forces in the production starring Ken Stott that played just around the corner only five years ago."
Dominic Cavendish for The Telegraph