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All That Fall

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four stars
On the face of it, Samuel Beckett's 1957 radio play is the most 
straightforward of all his works. Over the course of seventy-five 
minutes we follow an old woman's journey to the railway station to meet 
her husband off what turns out to be a delayed train. On his belated 
arrival, we follow their journey home, eventually discovering the 
reason for the delay.

In Pan Pan's hand, however, such a simple yarn becomes a full-on 
immersive experience, with the audience sat on rocking chairs in a 
dimly-lit room resembling a chill-out zone opposite a wall of 
floodlights. With no actors in sight, a recording of the play is 
broadcast through surround-sound speakers, giving every nuanced 
exchange and train rattle a thundering weight.

The play itself, with Aine Ni Mhuiri leading a cast of ten as old Mrs 
Rooney, is a darkly comic affair, rich in pathos and deadly one-liners. 
Gavin Quinn's high-concept production, with set and lighting by Aedin 
Cosgrove and sound design by Jimmy Eadie, transforms Beckett's words 
into a piece of total theatre that becomes a rich and unyielding feast 
for the senses.

The Herald, August 2013

ends

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