All About Eve

All About Eve
Director: Ivo van Hove, Nick Wickham
Writer: Ivo van Hove
Based on: Mary Orr‘s short story The Wisdom of Eve
Cast: Lily James, Gillian Anderson, Jessie Mei Li, Monica Dolan, Julian Ovenden, Sheila Reid, Stanley Townsend, Rhashan Stone, Tsion Habte, Ian Drysdale
Seen on: 11.4.2019

Margo Channing (Gillian Anderson) is the Broadway star, though she is worried that she is ageing out of her career. One night after her performance, a friend of hers brings along Eve (Lily James), Margo’s biggest fan and herself an aspiring actress. After Eve reveals her difficult life so far, Margo decides to help her, taking her under her wing. But there might be more to Eve than appears at first.

All About Eve delivers an excellent night of theater with perfect performances. Watching Gillian Anderson is always a pleasure, but it is a distinct pleasure in this play.

The poster for the play showing Eve (Lily James) peeking out from a curtain with Margo's (Gillian Anderson) face on it.

I have never seen the famous film, nor read the story, so I don’t know how the play compares to them, but taken on its own, it is certainly very good. Gillian Anderson and Lily James are really good in their respective roles (and I also really liked Jessie Mei Li’s Claudia) and have excellent chemistry, which just makes the play soar. Would I have wished for a little more explicit homoeroticism? Probably, yes, very likely, absolutely. But it is already pretty loaded the way we got it.

I also appreciated that Margo’s boyfriend Bill (Julian Ovenden) was an actual good guy and rejects Eve’s advances, because it shows that men have a responsibility there, too, and aren’t just too weak to resist temptation and say no when a young, beautiful woman throws herself at them.

Margo (Gillian Anderson) sitting on a chair, looking pensive. Behind her sits Bill (Julian Ovenden), trying to talk to her.

The stage design wasn’t quite as good as the rest of the play – it was a little boring, I thought. But at least it gave the actors space to work. And I did feel that the play got a little long towards the end, but that may as well just have been because I was very tired that evening.

At least I wasn’t too tired to recognize a good show when I saw it – and All About Eve is certainly a very good show with interesting characters. I should watch the film, too. I think I’ll like it, like I did the theater version.

Eve (Lily James) holding a dress against her chest, as Margo (Gillian Anderson) stands behind her.

Summarizing: Very good.

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