Sunday, 8 September 2013

Eh Joe

Royal Lyceum Theatre
four stars
It may last no longer than your average TV sit-com, but Samuel 
Beckett's close-up miniature remains as remarkable in Atom Egoyan's 
production for Dublin's Gate Theatre as it did when first broadcast on 
the small screen back in 1966.

Michael Gambon's old man stands alone in his bedroom, methodically 
drawing the curtains across windows and doors, as if cocooning himself 
 from the world outside. Then, sitting on the bed, his face projected 
onto the gauze curtain that frames the stage, the voices start. Or 
rather, just the one, that of a disembodied woman from his past who 
calmly torments him with prodding little litanies of mistreatment of 
other women that has led to his solitary state. As the words, dreamily 
intoned by Penelope Wilton, sink in, their full effect looms large on 
Gambon's face, heavy-lidded, moist-eyed and haunted by regret, 
self-loathing and lovelessness.

Egoyan's cinematic approach lends the play all the warts and all 
internal ennui so prevalent in his early film-work. To see Gambon so 
emotionally exposed as his hang-dog features react to Wilton's 
monologue is a beguilingly troubling insight into the mind of a man 
alone.

The Herald, August 2013

ends

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