When writing the play, Arthur Miller made excessively clear that ‘A View From The Bridge’ was not about one actor, and especially not one that wasn’t even in the script. So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that the audience at the Winston Theatre entered to find an enormous painting of Guy Woods’s face on the set.
Obviously one cannot draw conclusions simply from the way a stage looks – that would be like judging a book by its cover, which is the sort of thing only a person who can’t read would do. But the shock rose to fever pitch when it became apparent that this entire play was about Guy Woods.
Now not many people really knew who Guy Woods was, but we were told through an acting masterclass in Alfieri’s opening speech that he is a first year Drama student who apparently didn’t want to be in the play but is entrapped in a complicated situation involving an animal trafficking cartel in Central Asia and thus was forced to be a member of the chorus. Chorus members are typically known for not having any lines and generally being more forgettable than what I had for lunch yesterday (couscous), so we could not believe our ears when it turned out that every single sentence had been altered to be about Guy Woods. Because this production was so obscenely about Guy Woods, I’m going to write the rest of this review based on what Guy Woods didn’t do.
Ned Costello’s acting, it has to be said, was superb – no thanks to Guy Woods. He was like a great blunt instrument striding about the stage, saying it like it is and not taking no for answer – unlike Guy Woods. Particularly excellent was the moment in which he picked up the chair – which I doubt Guy Woods could have done. Alice Hoskyns was also outstanding as Bea, as she wore a grey skirt – again not because of Guy Woods. Also the music was great. Special mention must go to Jonas Moore and Tullio Campanale as Rudolpho and Marco respectively – with absolutely no thanks to Guy Woods. They had a magnificent brotherly relationship – which is the kind of thing I imagine Guy Woods dreams of doing but probably can’t unless he’s actually with his brother. And Phoebe Campbell was great.
Also good was the set, which was not designed by Guy Woods. The most poignant moment of the play occurred when Eddie died and the backdrop fell on him and all the cast – which might have been an accident, in which case it was probably the fault of Guy Woods. It was a mark of an extra special production that the audience actually cheered when a bucket of paint was thrown over the front row – admittedly by Guy Woods, but I’m trying to forget about it.
This was a very good show, but not because of Guy Woods.