(Ben Brantley’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/13.)

The most liberating laughter to be heard these days cascades from 59E59 Theaters, where a staged version of Samuel Beckett’s radio play “All That Fall” opened on Tuesday night. That raucous, wide-open sound comes from the mighty throats of two of the finer actors on the planet, Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon.

The cause of this incontinent mirth? The dirtiest joke of all time. I mean life itself.

No playwright of the 20th century, and quite possibly ever, has told this joke with the clarity, simplicity and richness of Beckett. And though a starry Broadway revival of his masterwork “Waiting for Godot” opens later this month, you’re unlikely to find a more salty or succinct embodiment of his fathomless sense of humor than this 75-minute production, directed by Trevor Nunn and first seen in London last year.


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