Here All Night is an evening of what can only be described in laymans terms, as a Beckett appreciation event. It consists of a variety of extracts from Beckett’s music and texts, coherently put together to match the Beckett-esque style that we have come to expect from his formal works. It comes as part of the Beckett in London event that the Coronet have launched as a celebration to mark the 110th anniversary of the writer’s birth. The festival is an eclectic mix of music, drama and reading that touches upon most of Beckett’s work, though wonderfully and purposefully missing Waiting for Godot off the programme, forcing a perhaps less adventurous audience member into watching his more infrequently staged, yet equally wonderful, work.
A well selected choice of pieces from various Beckett texts are chopped together and performed amidst songs and musical features that all harmonise surprisingly succinctly, leaving us with that same, familiar level of confusion, reflection, but also elation that come as part and parcel of being audience to any one of Beckett’s works. Conor Lovett’s performance carries the prose elements of this show. Lovett is truely an actor of superb quality. His delivery is intriguing and with a spontaneous accuracy he lends itself marvellously to Beckett’s words. It is a pleasure and a real treat to be able to witness an actor perform this work to such a high standard. This was effortless yet totally mesmerising work. Melanie Pappenheim and her incredible vocal dexterity led the musical aspect of the evening with much the same vigour and spirit. Accompanied by a small choir she is able to create hauntingly beautiful tones that sit perfectly along side the prose.
Cutting into the prose is original music by Paul Clark played entrancingly by Christopher Allan (cello), John-Paul Gandy (piano) and Cleek Schrey (hardanger d’amore). This is music being played like I have never before witnessed, it was Beckett…in musical form. The intricate nuances in tone, the jarring pauses while the pianist turned the page of his music, the juxtaposing rhythms of speech and song all encapsulate the style and form of Beckett’s work, without actually being Beckett’s work. It is genius. I sat back and enjoyed it. Everything before me just engulfed my senses. Like much of Beckett’s work, you can not start to over analyse this piece. Is there a meaning? Who knows? I know that I, for one, shall not sit for hours struggling to come to a finite conclusion as to what I am meant to think or feel, as it would be fruitless. Here All Night allowed me, for an hour and 20 minutes one Saturday evening to simply be; to reflect and to accept that I will never fully understand; in a way it was very liberating. It may be slightly mad, it may never make total sense, but in that there is something very beautiful. Here All Night is a truly enriching evening celebrating, exploring and appreciating the curious and pensive works of Samuel Beckett. That being said, it certainly will not be to everyone’s tastes. I was, for example, clearly the youngest person in the room and on the whole it is unlikely to appeal to the vast majority of the younger generation. However, I will conclude by saying, go. Go with an open heart and an inquisitive mind and I guarantee that you will feel, you probably won’t know what, but you will feel.
Here All Night is playing as part of the Beckett in London Festival until 2 June 2016. For more information and tickets, see The Print Room website.
Photo: Hugo Glendinning