THAT Eddie Carbone is one of the 20th Century’s great dramatic creations is beyond doubt, but it still needs to be acted; and in Jonathan Guy Lewis, this production of the Arthur Miller classic boasts a masterful performance.
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KING’S THEATRE, LEVEN STREET
Whether or not Guy Lewis knows what it’s like to live in a household dominated by a troubled and aggressive father-figure, he certainly gives a frighteningly accurate portrayal of a man in the grip of his own prejudices and unbending notions of respect and honour.
His Carbone, spits, stamps and slams his way round the set, with no suspension of disbelief needed to understand the pain and confusion he feels as the cocooned existence he has constructed for his niece Catherine disintegrates.
The programme notes are keen to play up comparisons with the Italian immigrant community in 1940s New York and the current immigration debate here, but the themes of personal control, fear of loss and irrational prejudice are much bigger.
So too is the classic theme of a man incapable of understanding the changing world around him, or avoiding actions which those around him know can only result in his own destruction, even to the extent of betraying his own values.
Michael Brandon, of Dempsey and Makepeace fame, is suitably laconic as the lawyer and narrator Alfieri, and Teresa Banham expertly captures the wise and defiant, but ultimately resigned, Beatrice Carbone. She has the Brooklyn accent down to a tee, unlike the appropriately demure Daisy Boulton as Catherine who nonetheless is well cast as the young woman struggling to break free from her domineering uncle.