Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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All That Fall and other radio plays

Manuscripts | Publications | Productions | Reviews


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While Roy Walker, in his reviews in the 24 January 1957 issue of The Listener, considers All That Fall “a play of radioactive particles [that] cannot be handled critically with safety,” he nevertheless considers it to be “the most important piece of pure radio drama since [Dylan Thomas’s] Under Milk Wood” (first broadcast by the BBC on 25 January 1954) for the very reason that Beckett’s style “makes mysterious relativities imaginatively instantaneous” thus “making the blind man’s theatre of radio an art form in its own right.”

An unsigned review of the published play in the London Times Literary Supplement concludes that a combination of the fact of the deaths of the two young women mattering and Beckett’s “extravagant language” elevates the play above the nihilistic. Donald Davie, in his review of the play text in the Winter 1958 issue of Spectrum, is one of the first critics to declare Beckett a “comic writer” who achieves his effect through an exaggerated “concern with the dignity or decrepitude of language” which, Davies argues, “is, after all, a concern for the dignity or decrepitude of man.”