‘Fascinating it still is, engaging perhaps not always’: ALL ABOUT EVE – West End ★★★

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Emily GarsideLeave a Comment

Noel Coward Theatre, London – until 11 May 2019

The idea of taking the film that is All About Eve, that was once the play The Wisdom of Eve and making it the play that is All About Eve seems a strangely logical and clearly interesting prospect. Couple that with Gillian Anderson who most recently ripped out and tore apart audiences in A Streetcar Named Desire, and it seems a recipe for a fascinating and engaging piece of theatre.

Fascinating it still is, engaging perhaps not always. But anyone hoping for the same level of emotional payoff that Anderson’s other stage roles have demonstrated will likely end up frustrated with Eve. Director Ivo van Hove is undoubtably one of the greats of the 20th and 21st century. I have no problem declaring his genius at times. However this perhaps is not one of those times. He is at his greatest when stripping back a piece to its raw material, and that is perhaps what is so frustrating here; stripped back to its raw stage Eve would have been so fascinating, and also ironically so raw.

These questions of women ageing, what women think of women, how they treat other women and on top of that how men treat them, how women are viewed by both. The film- and indeed the play are so, so rich with these ideas. But they get lost in a cold, often confusing