★★★½ All That Fall | Wilton’s Music Hall | Until 9 April
All That Fall at Wilton’s Music Hall is all about the blindfolds – it’s a pity that Samuel Beckett’s play feels overlong at just 65 minutes…
Beckett’s radio play All That Fall is given the live stage treatment and, acknowledging the writer’s wish for this to remain a piece to be heard and not seen, Out of Joint ask audiences to don blindfolds to authentically recreate the aural experience that Beckett intended.
All very laudable, and it certainly makes for a different theatre experience, but it’s hard to escape the feeling of square pegs being hammered into round holes for the sake of it. There’s a reason that some plays are written for the radio and others for the stage, and there’s a reason audiences pay to visit the theatre rather than sit at home around the radio. There’s also a reason why Wilton’s is such an incredible venue – it really is a building to revel in, an atmospheric and beautifully (and sympathetically) restored relic of a bygone era of theatre-going. To blindfold the audience in Wilton’s is like wearing earplugs at a classical concert – it kind of misses the point.
For what it’s worth, All That Falls is a perfectly serviceable radio play performed well by a committed troupe of performers who wring laughs and pathos out of a script that now feels quite dated. It’s a relatively unique experience – although David Rosenberg & Greg Neath pushed things further with more impressive results in 2015’s Fiction at the Battersea Arts Centre – but maybe one for Beckett aficionados only.