Out Of Joint’s production of All That Fall, originally performed at the Enniskillen festival, is a brilliant ‘staging’ of Samuel Beckett’s best radio play. Despite the strict barriers attached to his works – in this case stipulating that it should not be performed on stage – the company has produced a richly-layered live experience of one of his rarer works.

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Beckett famously described the piece as being ‘for voices, not bodies’, dependent on ‘coming out of the dark’. Director Max Stafford-Clark has cleverly taken this literally, inviting blindfolded audiences into an intimate and immersive performance. We were invited to listen in to the story of Maddy Rooney, who labouriously makes her way to a rural railway station to meet her mysteriously delayed blind husband. Inspired by Beckett’s memories of Foxrock, Ireland, it was both funny and chilling, while striking in its simplicity.

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The story played out intimately with the actors moving in and around the auditorium packed with chairs, the distinct characters interrupting Maddy’s journey coming close to the audience. Supported by Dylan Jones’ nine-directional soundscape, which summons bicycles, horses and a steam-train into the room with precision, the rural Irish village was brought to life.

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The wit of Beckett’s language was the star of the show, best delivered by Bríd Brennan as the self-pitying and cantankerous Maddy and her enigmatic husband (Adrian Dunbar). Brennan tackled the script with relish, navigating hilarious innuendo one moment and addressing deep grief in another, while Dunbar’s reticence added an intense, distant contrast.

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Without sight and left with only dialogue as a guide, the story’s tension built sinisterly, coming to a quietly shattering ending. While the conclusion was inexplicit, it is clear that it is the journey that counted in this production – brought vividly to life from the darkness.

All That Fall has transferred from Witlon’s Music Hall to the Arts Theatre in the West End, running until 14th May. You can buy tickets now here.

All That Fall at Wilton's Music Hall
4.0Overall Score