Search

Theatre review: All That Fall at Jermyn Street Theatre

12:31 24 October 2012

Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins in All That Fall. Picture: Polly Hancock

Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins in All That Fall. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Dame Eileen Atkins leads starry production of Samuel Beckett’s radio play with Sir Michael Gambon

The people at Jermyn Street clearly aren’t lying when they tell you its the West End’s smallest theatre.

Crammed in around a tiny stage – which you have to walk over to reach the loos – there are a mere 70 seats. To be honest it feels like even less.

So it’s quite a thrill to see the venerable talents of Dame Eileen Atkins and Sir Michael Gambon up close in such an intimate setting, directed by another titled veteran, Sir Trevor Nunn.

Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall was written for radio in 1956 and here it is staged in a manner that falls somewhere between a radio reading and a fully-blown production.

There’s little in the way of movement or set design and the cast all hold scripts, while old fashioned microphones hang from the ceiling, in case you were unsure what to expect.

But through the use of sound effects and the flexing of the cast’s considerable strengths, and above all Atkins’ enthralling turn, the audience is whisked away into the Irish rural setting with no trouble. Oh, and Beckett’s pinpoint and melodic language doesn’t hurt.

Atkins is excellent as the elderly Mrs Rooney, who is making her way to the train station to surprise her husband on his birthday. (That’s about the size of it when it comes to plot).

It’s a wonder that she bothers: every step of the journey is a trial, the cast of characters she meets along the way all a gruelling nuisance. Yet aided by Beckett’s writing, Atkins pulls off the difficult trick of remaining deeply entertaining while moaning incessantly.

When her husband, Gambon, appears, he is similarly consumed with misery, as proceedings take on a dark and mysterious hue. Gambon inhabits his role with equal gusto, but it is Atkins who makes the show.

* All That Fall is at Jermyn Street Theatre in Jermyn Street, SW1, until November 3.

0 comments

Latest Entertainment Stories

11:00
Croach Touch Pause Engage - Robin Soans - National Theatre Wales/Out of Joint - 19 February 2015

Directed by Max Stafford-Clark
Designed by Angela Davis
Lighting by Katy Morrison

As his latest play tells the story of gay rugby player Gareth Thomas, the Holloway playwright tells Bridget Galton why he’s still entering the political scrum.

11:03
The Flannelettes. Picture: Chris Tribble

This moving tale of abuse towards women was marred by a few loose lines, says David Winskill.

Yesterday, 12:15
Hetain Patel

Hetain Patel’s versatile one man show American Boy asks what your film taste says about you, finds Alex Bellotti.

Yesterday, 10:16
Printworks Kitchen

New Clerkenwell eatery Printworks Kitchen brings something new to the lunchtime food scene.

Most read entertainment

Competitions

You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Time to experience the dizzy heights of London's tallest attraction!

Morgan Pryce, commercial property experts based in London are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Shard viewing platform in the city itself.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder