THEATRE REVIEW: all of it ★★★★

all of it
The Royal Court, London
Friday 7th - Saturday 15th February 2020

For 8 performances only, Alistair McDowall's latest production for The Royal Court, all of it, sees Kate O'Flymn take the stage, or a stool to be precised, illuminated under a single spotlight, to whisk us away on a journey through quite literally 'all of it'; from birth to first day at school, first kiss to puberty, sexual experiences and pregnancy, and an added measure of marriage to death thrown into the mix, it merges all the above and more into the space of 45 minutes, without giving you the chance to breath.

What's fascinating about McDowall's writing is the way in which he allows us to care and laugh with O'Flynn's unnamed character without getting a chance to sink into a thorough backstory; we laugh so hard when the subject of puberty and male genitalia creeps into the script, but then are left in sudden silence when a medical scare moments into starting university weaves through without warning, a silence in which lasts long enough to capture the emotion before being diverted away again. McDowall is returning to The Royal Court later in the year with 'The Glow', but this one woman show will undoubtedly be a talking point for months to come, from those lucky enough to of grabbed a ticket!

O'Flynn gives a sensational masterclass in body language and facial expressions throughout also; as the title suggests, we follow the character through childhood right the way up to their dying breath, in which comes full circle in terms of the text, and O'Flynn is completely captivating and never lets go of your attention, to the point where you want to stop yourself from laughing just so you can capture every syllable and word which acts so vital to the storytelling. Vicky Featherstone has also done a remarkable job in transitioning O'Flynn's character throughout the segments, and knows perfectly when to allow a breather, though it's hard for us to regain ours as we are mesmerised by the performance, a set up quite resemblance of Phoebe Waller-Bridges stage show 'Fleabag'.

Overall, McDowall's latest production is a condensed 45 minute passage of rollercoaster emotions and themes pitched poetically from birth to death and all the exciting, if not messy chapters in-between.


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