THEATRE REVIEW: All About Eve ★★★★

All About Eve
Noël Coward Theatre, London
Saturday 2nd February - 11th May 2019

All About Eve, an adaption of Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1950s American Film and the 1946 short story ‘The Wisdom of Eve’, tells the story of star stricken Eve Harrington, who has seen every performance of Margo Channing’s (Gillian Anderson) Aged in Wood, to which one evening waiting outside Stage Door, Margo’s friend Karen Richards (Monica Dolan) brings Eve into Margo’s dressing room, where she sees the naivety and potential in Eve’s skills to offer her the role as an assistant, bringing Eve along to follow her idol’s journey, with consequences that slowly start turning the tables in Margo’s personal and professional lifestyle.

From the team that was brought together for The National’s Network starring Bryan Cranston, a production to which I thoroughly praised during it’s venture, I was very excited to watch the team come together once again for this production with a star-studded cast, and as a whole I was thoroughly engulfed and amazed once again by the slickness and raw staging that is multi-purpose and mixes live acting with video design to give us close ups and pre-recorded footage to give us the full extent and characteristic emotion in scenes which showcases actors talents to the very core, most notably in Margo’s birthday party and dining experience, in which a compelling bathroom scene between Karen and Eve is heightened through technology projected onto the back staging.

In terms of Acting and Storyline, not a moment goes unnoticed in a production that paves way for a large cast and ensemble, all who bring sophistication to their characters, especially between Anderson and James who are electric on stage with a powerhouse of female diversity and strong-headed characters. The scenes shared between these two are carefully directed by Ivo van Hove in a way that keeps the audience hooked in tension as the story develops and intertwines between the two where cracks start forming and true colours are revealed. A holiday away with Margo and her friends takes a particular turn in which for those like me who had not seen the film previously, leaves you baffled and jaw-dropped in a twist which you would not have seen coming but ultimately makes perfect scene prior to the scene.

Ivo van Hove has once again following Network created a masterpiece based off a well-loved movie that never drops the pace or focus on stage in this one act that doesn’t let up on energy which is felt greatly around the auditorium. Stanley Townsend as Addison DeWitt should also get a particular mention for taking on a role which challenges the perception of the theatre critic and a scene between Eve and himself with a revelation in the latter stages of the play leaves the audience in silence until a moment of pure gasp erupts to which Townsend visibly relishes on stage, showing such testament to Hove’s adaption.

Overall, All About Eve is a stylistic and compelling production from a director who I am slowly starting to admire since Network with a cast who excel in each of their roles with a multi-purpose set and technical team who with ease move around the stage in such a manner of slickness that leaves All About Eve a play of it’s time.


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