Footfalls & Play by Samuel Beckett. The Brockley Jack Studio, SE4 2DH. 4**** William Russell

by Samuel Beckett.
The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, 410 Brockley Road, London SE4 2DH to 9 March 2019.
Tues- Sat 7.30pm.
Runs 1 hr No interval.
TICKETS: 0333 666 3366
Review: William Russell 28 February
An introduction to the world of Beckett

Waiting for Godot, Beckett’s best known and most popular play, launched a career which as well as theatre pieces like Happy Days and Endgame, included numerous radio plays many of which are pieces for voice rather than physical performance and include the two which make up this programme. Godot, of course, is the person an endless list of theatrical knights and knights to be have waited, or will wait, to meet. While Winie in Happy Days, the cheerful wife slowly being consumed by the earth, has offered chances to assorted grand theatrical ladies. These two pieces are pure Beckett and offer the audiences at this theatre a splendid introduction to Beckett’s world of silences and apparently pointless actions, outbursts of sound and garbled speech which, if listened to closely, invariably has meaning and which plays with words endlessly.
In Play a man and two women, clearly dead judging by their ashen faces and for some time, are each encased in a funeral urn, only their heads showing. The man is in the middle and it becomes apparent that one woman is his mistress the other his wife and the finding out of his infidelity did not have a happy outcome. But the information comes gradually, each tells their part of the story, are interrupted, start again, and contradict what has been said without interaction. The skill the players – Rose Trustman, Ricky Zalman and Samantha Kamras – display as they cope with the language is formidable. In the second play Footfalls a woman is isolated in some house talking to her mother, then the mother talks about the woman, and then, mother dead the woman is alone. The footfalls are her passage through life I think. Again the players, Anna Bonnett as the hapless May, and Pearl Marsland as the mother deal with the difficulties of the text seamlessly. The two have been directed by John Patterson so that what should simply be pieces to listen to become plays to watch as well and they have been most skilfully lit by Oliver Fretz so that they seem to take place in darkness which sometimes is ominous, sometimes almost comforting.
It may not be an evening for the faint hearted, and just what it all means is something to talk about afterwards. But it is, because of Beckett’s use of language and the quality of this particular production, an evening to relish, to risk attending. I really do not want to wait for Godot one more time but I could sit through these two pieces again any time.

Woman 1: Rose Trustman.
Man: Ricky Zalman.
Woman 2: Samantha Kamras.
May: Anna Bonnett.
Voice: Pearl Marsland.

Director: John Patterson.
Stage Manager: Francesca Coleman.
Lighting Technician: Oliver Fretz.
Production photography: Angel Theatre Company.

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