Edinburgh Fringe digital review: Malone Dies

Thomas Caron brings Beckett to the Edinburgh Fringe with Malone Dies, in an adaptation by Shanghai Shakespeare.

As the second novel in Beckett’s Makone trilogy, Malone Dies sits between Malloy and The Unnamable, and focuses on an old man in a an asylum or hospital trying to connect with his mortality. It has similar overtones to How It Is and relies on a close observational style.

This show presents six selections from the novel in ninety minutes, in a performance captured in black and white and delivered with a real sense of the playwright’s rhythm and power.

Caron has wished to adapt Malone Dies for forty years, since he was a budding actor based in the United States. He first performed it on stage in 2017; now it comes to the screen.

The choices here are the same passages delivered on the radio by Patrick Magee in 1958, personslly selected by Beckett. It made the show easier to assemble once the Beckett Estate granted permission.

Beckett is not for everyone, but this id a very good adaptation if you are interested in his work. Caron’s perfornance is delivered to camera as an elderly man who deals with his situation – a room, with a taper, inching towards the end of life in God’s waiting room.

It is peaceful, not suspicious or threatening. Where he is does not matter; why he is there means nothing. Whether he is in his full senses we are unckear. He is lucid; he stands; he sees and hears, but poorly. He is toothless, impotent, he can no longer crawl. H

In 10,000 words we see all of humanity in this old man in his last act in the world, alone in his repetitive hours and days, a weird heroism and a strong pragmatism keeping him going.

Malone Dies is streaming for free during the Edinburgh Fringe: book a ticket here.