It begins with longshoreman Eddie Carbone ritualistically washing himself clean at the end of a day’s toil, and ends with a pieta-like tableau.
Van Hove encloses this account of the downfall of a basically decent man within a low-sided perspex rectangle which projects into the auditorium. It gives little sense of a crowded Brooklyn tenement, but its walls confine this tragedy of a man whose avuncular love for his teenage niece, Catherine (Phoebe Fox), has moved into dangerous territory without him realising it.
The choral music is sometimes almost overwhelming, but that’s a minor quibble in an interval free production burning with suppressed passion and inner confusion as the impressive Mark Strong’s tormented Eddie, denying his feelings yet tortured by jealousy, struggles to prevent Catherine’s relationship with Rodolfo, an illegal Sicilian immigrant whom they are sheltering.
Nicola Walker’s excellent Beatrice reveals all the hurt and awareness of a still-loving but worn down wife who can see only too clearly why Eddie is no longer a true husband to her in the bedroom and, acknowledging the influence of Greek Tragedy, Michael Gould’s lawyer Alfieri serves as both rueful narrator and Eddie’s confessor in this stark, urgent interpretation.
Extended until June 7
Where: Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ
Tickets cost £10.00 – £35.00 (£5 standing). To book, click here