sat 14/12/2019

Rare Beckett piece to be staged in Jermyn Street | Arts News

Rare Beckett piece to be staged in Jermyn Street

Small is not only beautiful, but sometimes brilliant too. The Jermyn Street Theatre is a small unfunded fringe venue just five minutes walk from Piccadilly Circus - the smallest theatre in the heart of the West End - has just announced another major production for this autumn.

Three big hitters of the British stage come together as Trevor Nunn directs Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon in All That Fall, a radio play by Samuel Beckett. The work, which has never been seen in London before, continues and extends this small and intimate theatre’s reputation. In July, it stages the UK premiere of Henrik Ibsen’s comic fantasy St John’s Night, the Norwegian playwright's first publicly performed work.

All That Fall was specially commissioned by the BBC as a radio play, when it was first heard on the Third Programme in 1957, and acclaimed for its comic and linguistic exuberance. The piece charts the journey of old and unwieldy Mrs Rooney as she drags herself towards a railway station on a Saturday lunchtime to meet her blind husband on his way back from the office to guide him home.

Trevor Nunn says, “For many years I have been hoping to present Samuel Beckett’s extraordinary radio play All That Fall on stage. Richly showing Beckett’s connection to O’Casey, the play moves through comedic situations to a conclusion as disturbingly bleak as anything in his writing. My hope is that audiences won’t try to find and read the play beforehand, but come to it as if it is a new work about which they know almost nothing. The impact of this play will then be at its most devastating.”

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