All On Her Own ★★★★★ MZG Theatre Productions (online) | February 16-21, 2021

Terence Rattigan's thirty minute monologue, All On Her Own, was written for radio and here, in Alastair Knights' immaculately filmed production, becomes a superb vehicle for award-winning Janie Dee. Rosemary is the rather posh widow of a Huddersfield building contractor, Gregory, and after rather too much whisky, she imagines trying to communicate with him. Effortlessly, Dee draws us into their milieu which would seem, to the outside world, to contain a perfect marriage, but the veneer is very thin. One could imagine a relationship akin to that in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Rattigan was for many years derided, but thankfully his writing is at last back in fashion. His language here is spare yet it takes us on an emotional roller coaster as Rosemary downs more and more alcohol. Beautifully lit and stylishly set, we get a strong impression of the Hampstead these characters inhabit – dinner-party discussions on the merits of Kafka and educating children at Eton. Northerner Gregory has remained an outsider and we are asked to consider whether his death was accidental, allowing the insurance to pay out, or a more deliberate suicide. As the unfailingly polite Rosemary, Janie Dee beautifully uses her mellifluous voice and then drops a couple of octaves to give us Gregory, her bluff, all too frequently 'woozled', late husband. This slight but compelling piece is unlikely to be performed better, and Dee's quiet rectitude takes the play to another level of subtlety.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Danny Kaan.

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