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All About Eve, or All About Screens

This isn’t a review as such, but some thoughts on All About Eve, starring Gillian Anderson and Lily James, at the Noel Coward Theatre.

It took me a while to see this, having been confined to my sick bed when it opened.

While Anderson well deserves her Olivier Awards nomination for best actress, I’m not surprised that Ivo van Hove’s production doesn’t appear in the best new play or director categories.

I came away from this disappointed in what seemed to me to be the overuse of video screens.

Yes, Gillian Anderson has a face you could look at all day – so it’s not hard to see why van Hove is keen to show her projected large from the POV of her dressing room mirror.

But is it really such a bold artistic move to screen large chunks of the action as they take place in cramped spaces out of view?

I saw this from the Grand Circle (where else?) and my lasting memory is of watching several minutes of this play via two fairly standard TV screens suspended high above the stage.

Some of it – including a brilliant sequence where Anderson’s Margo Channing visibly ages in her mirror – is pre-recorded.

If I wanted to stay at home and watch TV… yadda yadda yadda.

A brilliant story, irritatingly told.