At Jermyn Street Theatre, the smallest theatre in the heart of the West End, three giants of the British stage came together as Trevor Nunn directed Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon in All That Fall, a radio play by Samuel Beckett. The work, which had never been seen in London before, continued and extended this small and intimate theatre's burgeoning reputation for attracting the very best talent in British theatre in order to rediscover and stage lesser-known works by major writers.
Jermyn Street's production of ALL THAT FALL closes tonight, 3rd November.
Specially commissioned by the BBC as a radio play, when it was first heard on the Third Programme in 1957, All That Fall was immediately and universally acclaimed for its comic and linguistic exuberance. The Times Literary Supplement said of it, "A most impressive and original piece of writing for the ear, comparable in its impact, though not at all in its tone or mood, with Under Milk Wood. The use of language has a rich local flavour; there is a rhetorical zest, a rhythmical extravagance, and a melancholy humour, that recall Synge and O'Casey."
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. Along the way she passes the time of day with a man with a dung cart and a man with a bicycle. A third man with a motor-car offers her a lift and a church-struck spinster helps her up the station steps.
At the beginning of this year, Jermyn Street Theatre won The Best Fringe Theatre of the Year in The Stage 100 Awards. Increasingly in the ascendance under the stewardship of Gene David Kirk, it is considered to be one of the most exciting venues of its size in the UK. With a commitment to presenting both little performed European and American classics and vibrant new plays and musicals, the theatre has won recent acclaim with its productions of Charles Dyer's Mother Adam, Ibsen's Little Eyolf starring Imogen Stubbs, The River Line by Charles Morgan, The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams and The Art Concealment about the celebrated playwright Terence Rattigan. In 2011 Jermyn Street Theatre was nominated for the Peter Brook Empty Space Award and in July 2012 in another major first, the theatre will present the UK premiere of Henrik Ibsen's St John's Night directed by Anthony Biggs.
Jermyn Street Theatre is located at 16b Jermyn Street, Piccadilly Circus tube. For more information, visit www.jermynstreettheatre.co.uk.