Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of ALL ABOUT EVE?
Margo Channing. Legend. True star of the theatre. The spotlight is hers, always has been. But now there's Eve. Her biggest fan. Young, beautiful Eve. The golden girl, the girl next door. But you know All About Eve...don't you...?
Ivo van Hove directs Gillian Anderson and Lily James in his new adaptation of All About Eve, a razor-sharp, unsettling exposé of the eternal obsession at the heart of show-business. Lifting the curtain on a world of jealousy and ambition, this new production, from one of the world's most innovative theatre directors, asks why our fascination with celebrity, youth and identity never seems to get old.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: Yet as adapted and directed by the international auteur Ivo van Hove,what was originally a crackling, high-gloss satire now feels like a horror movie without a pulse. The shades of lurid red that saturate the sets and costumes for this production, which opened on Tuesday night with Gillian Anderson as its enervated star, suggest nothing so much as the fast-drying lifeblood of an exsanguinated masterpiece.
Marianka Swain, BroadwayWorld: Anderson is outstanding, showing us all the messy layers of Margo the person and the performer - whether posing in a silk robe, cigarette in hand; drawling deadpan insults in a tone as dry and lethal as gunpowder; crooning a song while drunk and maudlin; nastily crowning Bill with her wig; or honestly searching for a sense of self. It's a witty, sad, bravura turn.
Dominic Maxwell, The Times: Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a boring night. Yes, that's a misquotation of the most celebrated line of dialogue from All About Eve, the wonderful 1950 backstage drama that won six Oscars, including one for Bette Davis as the Broadway star Margo Channing, at first unsettled and then usurped by Eve, the fan who comes to work for her. However, this listless theatrical adaptation by Ivo van Hove feels too much like one long act of misguided quotation
Sarah Crompton, WhatsOnStage: Van Hove has altered the movie's sophisticated, dark tone, reducing its wit and introducing an even stronger element of cynicism. It's as if someone has added an extra dose of angostura bitters to a champagne cocktail; it still fizzes on the way down, but it leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. The result is a production that is easier to admire than to adore, but one which offers a wonderful central role to Gillian Anderson which she seizes with both hands and makes it her own.
Paul Taylor, The Independent: These good omens do not deceive, Van Hove's adaptation of All About Eve is emphatically a success, albeit a qualified one. A coruscating sense of humour has never been a salient feature of this director's work. You feel that the wisecracking fun in Mankiewicz's knowing take on the "theat-uh" interests him less than the dark psychodrama that he compellingly draws out of. Usurpation here is the name of the game. This is the unnerving fable of the understudy who turns out to be your nemesis - the fear that the doting younger fan will end up surpassing you. It's about ageism in the theatre and the limits society imposes on a woman's professional aspirations. Highly pertinent, then.
Demetrios Matheou, The Hollywood Reporter: It's likely to be a hit, even if doesn't quite reach the heights one might have hoped. "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night," declares Anderson's Margo Channing to her friends, warning of the bender tantrum to come. In truth, the seat belt is optional; those who have seen the film, in particular, may be fine without. While the source material is simply too darn good not to remain entertaining, the adaptation rarely enhances it. As a stage production, it's by turns scintillating and airless.
Photo Credit: Jan Versweyveld