Review: Footfalls - Bar Lane Studios, York

Tues 19th April 7pm

Samuel Beckett's Footfalls, presented by Six Lips Theatre, is the debut production for this small and all female ensemble.

Set in the basement of York's Bar Lane Studios, the audience are immersed into a dark world immediately on entrance. The dirty stairs and floor are strewn with burnt books, maps, dead flowers and broken crockery which makes Jess Mather's set design quite striking. On closer inspection, a few dead cockroaches showed just how much thought, energy and time had been put in to create such an oppressive atmosphere, where an audience feel they don't belong for a precise hour.

Catherine Richards' costume design complements both the set and intended atmosphere, right down to the detailed make up by Emily Pease (including blackened talons for May's toenails!).

Anna Rose James plays the role of May incredibly well. Her expressions and mannerisms depict a gaunt and weak figure who is in search of 'it all' or whatever 'it all' may be. As she paces nine steps back and forth between two lights (as to Beckett's intentions) the silence of the space gives a somewhat uncomfortable feeling.

The offstage Voice (Roxanna Klimaszewska) in the play is positioned in the upstage left corner of the room for this production. Difficult to hear at times, the frail voice is amplified via radio mic, with the sound coming from behind the audience. This is disorientating as you expect the sound to come directly from the character.

Directed by Hannah Wallace, 'Footfalls' leaves the audience wondering what 'it all' is and during an opportunity to ask questions to the cast after the production, the director's intentions were such that the audience must search for their own answers and we were left trying to figure out what had occurred in the uncomfortable hour we had spent in Beckett's world.

A short film after the interval titled 'Sequel' by Paul Richardson, provided another response to Beckett's text, with the character of May wandering around a church yard, accompanied by and eery soundtrack. Again, it left the audience trying to make sense of 'it all'.

'Footfalls' is showing until Saturday 23rd April 2011 at Bar Lane Studios, York.
Tickets available from York Theatre Royal