Sonia Friedman Productions and Fox Stage Productions 



by Joseph L Mankiewicz

Adapted and directed for the stage by Ivo van Hove

Noël Coward Theatre

2 February – 11 May 2019

Review by Clive Burton


Two months after Sunset Boulevard burst onto 50s movie screens with its gripping tale of an ageing movie star’s misguided attempt at a comeback, All About Eve examined how even a mega star lives in fear of being surreptitiously usurped by a younger model - a mirror image of her younger self - using all the tawdry tricks she had employed many years earlier to reach the top.


Both productions eventually adopted successful musical mantles: Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s  Sunset  Boulevard is a model of what can be achieved and the Charles Strouse musical adaptation of  Applause ,  (based on All About Eve), serves as a reminder of the success to be gained when one medium  transfers to another.

Margo Channing is the star and Eve Harrington the obsessively determined fan insinuating her way into her idol’s life and determined to imitate her path to success. 

Eve convincingly plays the adoring fan so well, and with such an apparent lack of artifice, that she wins over almost everyone, from playwright (Rhashan Stone’s volatile Lloyd Richards) to Margo’s youthful pretty-boy director/lover (Julian Ovenden) who is not averse to peddling his own pan-sexual charms if the occasion demands.

Even Addison De Witt - played unforgettably in the movie by George Sanders and embodied as a controlling gossip columnist by a stentorian Stanley Townsend - puts personal reservations on hold to launch an exclusive exposé with Eve at its heart.

Many are taken in - or are they merely pursuing their own self-serving agenda? - except for Sheila Reid’s worldly dresser, Birdie, whose reaction to Eve’s studied ingenuousness is to dismiss it with “What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snapping at her rear end” when Eve recounts the shtick she has rehearsed to worm her way into Margo’s life.

Belgian Director Ivo van Hove flits between the ephemeral worlds of greasepaint and celluloid in his own new stage adaptation of All About Eve, that uses film actuality footage to augment the drama with giant screened interpolations of the action, and time-lapse sections speed up the accelerated effects of aging on Ms Channing as she contemplates her future in her dressing room make-up mirror. 

This emphasis on growing older provides a fitting image in a profession which, to this day, obdurately retains its obsession with youth, in a production heavy on theatrical atmospherics.

Two of the most dramatic highlights chillingly drive their points home by the utter conviction of grippingly good acting. 

Early on, Margo catches Lily James’s enraptured Eve trying on one of the star’s costumes, inducing a dazzling, almost auto-erotic sense of ecstasy as her veins absorb stardom by a process of osmosis.

Much later, in a low-key, heart-to-heart downstage between Gillian Anderson’s Margo and her confidante/long-term best friend, Karen (a gloriously ballsy Monica Dolan), Margo opens up to her own misgivings about Eve, musing on the possibility that the newcomer’s hastily-arranged debut in front of a band of influential critics, may not be as accidental as it appears.

As the story unfolds against Jan Versweyveld’s fluid backgrounds in van Hove’s fascinating, finely-tuned production, how little appears to have changed since Joseph L. Mankiewicz first presented his masterfully-crafted world of make-believe over half a century ago.

All About Eve to be broadcast live from the Noël Coward Theatre to cinemas across the UK and internationally on 11th April 2019 with National Theatre Live 
Participating cinemas can be found here:
St Martin's Lane
London WC2N 4AU
Box Office: 0844 482 5140

Sonia Friedman Productions and Fox Stage Productions 



by Joseph L Mankiewicz
Adapted and directed for the stage by Ivo van Hove


Noël Coward Theatre


A Delfont Mackintosh Theatre
85-88 St Martin's Ln, London WC2N 4AP


Final performance: 11th May 2019


Captioned performance:  12th March 2019
Audio Described performance: 19th March 2019


Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Thursday & Saturday matinee performances at 2.30pm


Box office details
0844 482 5140 Calls cost 7p per minute, plus your phone company's access charge
Group Bookings: 0844 482 5100
Access Bookings: 0844 482 5165


Prices from £15

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