All That Fall at the Arts Theatre
A new and intriguing theatrical style has arrived in the West End: a Samuel Beckett play where the audience are blindfolded for the duration of the performance. As bizarre as this may sound, the production actually recalls its heyday as a popular radio play.
Celebrated director Max Stafford-Clark and other members of the Out of Joint theatre company bring Beckett’s vibrant and complex characters to life solely through the use of sound. The actors journey through the audience, relaying the story of the larger-than-life Mrs Rooney who goes to collect her blind husband from the local train station. Along the way, the audience’s ears are introduced to a host of entertaining and lively individuals.
Although this innovative type of performance may require a little more focus from just one of the five senses, listening closely to the intricate script and eloquent voices seems to reinforce the talent of the renowned playwright, as well as the skill demonstrated by the small cast. The audience is gripped by the raw humour, suspense and warmth.
Although the play relates a habitual journey made by ordinary people, the intelligent storyline delves deep into a range of topics such as human relationships, grief, ageing, religion and rural life. As we hear Mrs Rooney talking with her husband, the conversation twists and turns, both funny and highly emotional in the space of a few sentences.
Should Londoners be in need of an unusual, amusing and dramatic experience, All That Fall is the place to begin. Although the concept of not “watching” the play may seem strange at first, it works. Listening to this snippet of rural Ireland calls on the imagination as the talented cast introduce you to an array of funny and engaging characters.
Photos: Richard Davenport
All That Fall is on at the Arts Theatre from 13th April until 14th May 2016, for further information or to book visit here.