Rosemary (Janie Dee) comes home from a London party near midnight. Alone in the living room where her husband died, she begins talking to him, breaking the silence on her emotions and guilt at his passing and, possibly, communicating with him one last time.
This short play was written by Terence Rattigan, a great and undeservedly neglected British playwright who once wrote for Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe and is still the only playwright to have notched more than 1000 performances for two separate plays, namely, French Without Tears and While the Sun Shines.
In these Covid-times many plays are being performed for the (laptop) screen, ostensibly still as a play. In the case of All On Her Own, this is in many ways a return home as the play, performed on stage at the Overground Theatre, Kingston, Surrey, in October 1974 and more recently at the Garrick Theatre in April 2015, actually began its life as a piece for television, broadcast on BBC2 on 25th September 1968. This new digital production has been produced by Jack Maple & Brian Zeilinger-Goode for MZG Theatre Productions and is directed by Alastair Knights, with Jack McCann as assistant director and original music by Lindsey Miller.
It being entirely told by one person in a room of her house, it is an easy transfer to these easy-breezy times. Janie Dee, who is basically playing two roles here as the widow and the dead man she is attempting to channel, wrings the text for all its humour and pathos, making sure this short piece hits the audience with full force. It may only be half an hour long but here, as in the best short stories that is because there is nothing more to say: the rest is silence.
Full of emotional twists and plot turns and ably directed by Alastair Knights, all on her own is a captivating watch. Effortlessly played by the award-winning Dee, this production is at time hilarious and heart-breaking, and offers a comparatively rare chance to experience a great playwright’s lesser known work in its best light.
Reviewer: Oliver Giggins
Reviewed: 15th February 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★