Robyn Rikoon (Catherine), Bryce Pinkham (Rodolpho) (foreground), Ron Menzel (Marco), John Carroll Lynch (Eddie Carbone) and Amy Van Nostrand (Beatrice) in the Guthrie production of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, directed by Ethan McSweeny.
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE at the Guthrie Theater through November 8
Arthur Miller's 1955 A View from the Bridge delivers no shortage of Italian Brooklyn motifs—cargo-boosting dock workers, allusions to "the syndicate" and old-school Sicilian justice—and director Ethan McSweeny drives home the point by opening with jazzy sax, bass, and drums to punctuate a bunch of working stiffs hauling goods (and, presumably, to accent the class awareness that permeates the script). But the real focus here is in the squishy zone of the psychological. Longshoreman Eddie (John Carroll Lynch) lives with his wife, Beatrice (Amy Van Nostrand, casting an alarmed, withering gaze at the proceedings from the onset), and newly minted adult niece Catherine (Robyn Rikoon). The problem is apparent from the get-go, when Catherine leaps into Eddie's arms when he returns from work, then when Eddie looks at Catherine in a smart new dress and proclaims her "the Madonna type." (You feel like telling Eddie he has issues with his personal boundaries, but the big lug would just stare at you uncomprehending.) Cue up the arrival from the old country of cousins Marco (Ron Menzel, with moral authority) and the younger, daft Rodolfo (Bryce Pinkham), and soon Catherine is smitten with the singing, ebullient, and generally twinkling junior cousin. To say this doesn't sit well with Eddie is an understatement. Lynch traces Eddie's descent from mere fixation into staring, blank-eyed obsession, a Greek tragedy of malice aimed at the blond, guileless Rodolfo (Pinkham does inject some steel into his portrayal in the second act). But a trembling, haunted performance by Richard S. Iglewski as Alfieri, the lawyer Eddie seeks out for advice (Alfieri tells Eddie to "put it out of his mind"; Eddie does not), for all its intensity, feels oddly out of place considering the action it underscores. The final sequence is all about justice, public reckoning, and honor. Yet all that has come before pretty much reduces the question to one of (admittedly well articulated and sufficiently creepy) sexual jealousy. As a viewing experience, this has many fine passages, but ultimately the dots don't feel convincingly connected.