Alistair McDowall’s All of It is like Sally Rooney written by Samuel Beckett. Or Samuel Beckett written by Sally Rooney. Either way, the short pay condenses the cradle-to-grave existence of one woman into a rattling 45-minute-long monologue, moving from the first hazy registration of colours to the final, unremitting darkness. Like Rooney’s Normal People, the work’s charms – and considerable limitations – reside in its unapologetic familiarity.
School days are filled with discovering sex, death, Australia, friends and alcohol before the protagonist rapidly switches university and getting wasted for the strange sensations of motherhood, followed by the absolute monotony of working life. Words and phrases repeat, splice and echo, the way jibes do around a playground.
Vicky Featherstone’s production places Kate O’Flynn on a simple high seat, microphone in hand and large glass of water on a side table. So much of the brilliance of the piece comes from O’Flynn’s captivating delivery. Her performance is simultaneously intense and judiciously understated. Hearing her speak is like listening to someone use their voice the way a dancer uses their body.
The only design to speak of comes from Anna Watson’s precision spotlighting of the performer, which gradually fades from a single yellow beam to two blue-tinted streams as the story pitches forever onwards to its conclusion.
There’s an irony present between the bright illumination of the woman and the way she increasingly becomes ‘invisible’ as she ages. It’s only a shame McDowall couldn’t have painted her using a few more shades.