Wednesday, February 17, 2021

ALL ON HER OWN (MZG Theatre Productions/Stream Theatre)*****


By Cal


Available until: Streams on Wednesday 17th, Thursday 18th, Friday 19th and Saturday 20th at 7.30pm, with additional shows on Friday 19th at 9pm, Saturday 20th at 2.30pm and Sunday 21st at 5pm.

All On Her Own is an outstanding piece of theatre which is brilliantly performed, but it did leave me wanting more.

While it’s usually a good sign to be wanting more after the play has finished, this play is only thirty minutes long and I felt there was so much more that could have been done with the story and the character. The play was edited by the author and published under the new title of Duologue, but I don’t know what form the edits took.

The play, which is by Terence Rattigan (whose The Deep Blue Sea was one of my personal favourites from National Theatre at Home, and not just because I fancied the doctor), is written for one female performer (though I think a gay version would work really well). Rosemary’s husband Gregory has died in an accident and the circumstances of the accident, as well as the state of their marriage in general, has left Rosemary with a lot of questions which will probably never be answered.

Then someone tells her she talks to her dead husband at the same time every day and Rosemary decides to give it a go too. She sits in her beautifully-decorated living room and starts talking to Gregory.

As I said, it’s a one-woman production so Janie Dee, who plays Rosemary, also gives Gregory’s answers to Rosemary’s questions. But is she really speaking to him or is she just talking to herself?

There have been some really brilliant monologues during lockdown where the actor has sat in the same place the whole time, but director Alastair Knights decided that Rosemary would wander about the room, sometimes pouring herself another drink, sometimes so lost in her thoughts that she might not even be fully aware she’s moved. This works really well because it’s completely natural for Rosemary to move and we also get to see more of Rosemary and Gregory’s lovely home, which is important to the plot and their marriage.

The walking around also enables Janie Dee to make her pauses longer and she really is good at making a pause in the text meaningful. She can keep the energy going and project the emotion and create a really powerful moment. Janie is equally good with the text and she expresses Rosemary’s thoughts really movingly. She also creates a completely different persona for Gregory – a new voice; a different accent. She doesn’t force her voice down into the bass regions, although it is lower than the voice she uses as Rosemary, but there is something very convincingly masculine in the delivery of it and it is possible to believe the dead Gregory might really be speaking through Rosemary.

I just wish it was twice as long.

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