That Was All at The Space
Isle of Dogs’ The Space theatre has reopened its doors to a socially distanced public, presenting a one-woman show that explores memory, trauma and the effects of the unspoken.
Written by playwright Francis Grin, with a spirited performance from Jennie Eggleton, the monologue is sharp and well executed. Charlotte Everest’s direction maintains focus, while making good use of the space. Eggleton breathes into the microphone for a little over three minutes at the start of the show, her respiration becoming more and more rapid and urgent. Foot pedals record the breathing, which is replayed, while the lighting shifts the tone in the theatre’s high ceiling.
The protagonist attends a therapy session with Il Devino, a New Age healer she meets through her friend Paul, with whom her relationship as “indefinable.” The sessions form the epicentre of the story, as the play dips in and out of past and present. The shifting time frame is easy to follow, with characters clearly separated from one another. Grin’s writing is detailed and relatable, particularly the dialogue, which transports the audience to a typical British town. Eggleton shows real understanding of the character(s) she portrays, with genuine energy.
Though it is well-executed in general, there are some elements of the show that remain unclear by its conclusion, such as the woman’s concern for her Dad (is he unwell the whole time or is she simply worrying about his inevitable passing?). She suffers a panic attack when her date mentions his own father’s death, and the scene is followed by a return to the therapy session. Her father makes philosophises every so often with maxims such as “there are no endings, just transformations,” perhaps hinting at future events.
Despite these ambiguities (which may even be intentional as reflections of a shifting mental state), Grin has written an honest and unaffected tale of one woman’s relationship with her father and the trauma she develops, to which Eggleton does ample justice.
That Was All is at The Space from 8th October until 10th October 2020, and available to livestream on 10th October 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.