Samuel Beckett’s Fizzles, as part of the Beckett in the City series, by Company SJ, is staged in the rustic yet beautiful 14 Henrietta Street. The space itself is an old tenement building, having been left more or less untouched since the time it was utilized as such. Now an old, dusty and looming building it is seemingly the perfect venue for a Beckett piece. Company SJ have previously brought us productions of Rough for Theatre I and Act Without Words II, both also written by Beckett.
We are led through the house, through three different rooms by ushers with torches. In each room the performer, Raymond Keane, is waiting for us, hidden in plain sight. The piece itself incorporates, along with the beauty of the surrounding architecture, intricate movement accompanied by the recorded voice of Raymond Keane performing the words of the piece and haunting images projected onto the empty walls.
The piece itself is an adaptation of Beckett’s prose piece by the same name. Fizzles, according to the programme, is something that stops just as it is getting going. The idea here is a life that has stopped before it has started. I have never seen this sadness, hopelessness in life expressed so beautifully. Director, Sarah Jane Scaife, has created something both wondrous and frightening, she has perfectly blended the intense darkness of life with the beautiful fragility of the light, but that really is Beckett at its best.