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Theater Review: A View from the Bridge

Aurora Leonard and Ray Abruzzo in A View from the Bridge. Photo Jesse Janzen,

Arthur Miller presented the common man as a tragic antihero. In his classic 1940s plays Death of a Salesman and All My Sons, the failings of Willy Loman and Joe Keller unfold increasing sorrow. So it is with A View from the Bridge, a 1950s Miller play with its own antihero and bleak denouement.

A wife and her niece are trapped with an abusive patriarch who demands fealty regardless of his sins. They shelter two newly arrived relatives who live by the Sicilian code of loyalty, where betraying trust demands terrible retribution.

The period piece has some relevance for today’s immigration woes; unfortunately, familial abuse also remains a timely subject (viz., How I Learned to Drive). In this production, now playing at Santa Monica’s Ruskin Theatre, stellar performances and strong direction, by Mike Reilly, give A View from the Bridge its 2023 raison d’être.

Eddie Carbone (Ray Abruzzo, seen last year in the Geffen’s King Liz) is the aforementioned patriarch, furious in his rants and menacing in his threats. The longshoreman is a pussycat to his teen niece Catherine (Aurora Leonard), until she informs him she’s found a job he deems beneath her. He doubles down on his authoritarian stance when he learns about her budding romance. His wife Beatrice (Kim Chase) tries to reason with him, but he flails at seeing his only comfort abandoning him.

Eddie, Beatrice and Catherine live a step above squalor, where bragging rights come from scraps. There’s a sense of desperation in the air that all try to ignore. Eddie has steady work on the Brooklyn docks, and occasional “gifts” lifted from shipments. But when Beatrice’s cousins, Marco (Jesse Janzen) and Rodolpho (Brandon Lill), Sicilian migrants, arrive to share the apartment, its shortcomings are brought into full relief.

Brandon Lill and Aurora Leonard in A View from the Bridge.

When Catherine falls for the young and handsome Rodolpho, Eddie sees his beloved niece settling for a life he deems beneath her. He consults a wise attorney, Alfieri (Sal Viscuso) for advice, but refuses to accept it. The stage is set for that trademark Miller heartbreak.

Jesse Janzen, Kim Chase and Brandon Lille in A View from the Bridge. Photo by Alex Neher.

Alfieri offers narration throughout the play, providing context and perspective for the dark tale unwinding onstage. Viscuso has just the right tone of mournful rebuke. But it’s Abruzzo who gives the play its terrifying energy, as his Eddie storms through his life, giving in to his basest instincts and turning a deaf ear on his family, his lawyer and his own conscience.


A View from the Bridge is playing at Ruskin Group Theatre Co. through Sunday, October 8 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm, Sundays at 2:00pm. Tickets are $25-35 and are available here. The theater is located at 3000 Airport Avenue, on the grounds of Santa Monica Airport.


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Laura Foti Cohen
Laura Foti Cohen
Laura Foti Cohen has lived in the Brookside neighborhood since 1993. She works as a freelance writer, editor and consultant. She's also a playwright affiliated with Theatre West.

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