Waiting for Godot at the Arts Theatre London – Review


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Waiting for Godot at the Arts Theatre London – Review

Patrick ODonnell, Nick Devlin and Paul Kealyn

Patrick ODonnell, Nick Devlin and Paul Kealyn

Didi and Gogo wait on a country road by a tree for a man named Godot. All they know is that when Godot arrives they will be saved. If he doesn’t arrive they have to come back tomorrow and wait again.

Waiting for Godot is back where it first opened 62 years ago. The play starts with the two main protagonists Estragon (Gogo), Patrick O’Donnell, and Vladimir (Didi), Nick Devlin, waiting. O’Donnell delivers the grumpy tramp Gogo with an ease and comfort that shows he has been playing the part for years. Devlin gives us the tramp Didi who will ponder somewhat deeper and forever be convinced that Godot will turn up so the wait is worth it.

There is also Pozzo (Paul Kealyn) and Lucky (Paul Elliot). Kealyn delivers a Pozzo who is an upper class, suitably attired, English gentleman. A very hard task master for Lucky. Elliot is the cast member I feel sorry for. How he doesn’t have a put out back from the permanent stoop, how he goes from saying nothing to delivering the 3-minute monologue and back to the stoop is beyond me. It seems appropriate to doff my metaphorical cap…

The set is open on arrival and simplistic doesn’t do it justice. A backdrop, a tree and a rock. That’s what you get for a staged set, not that you need anything else mind you. The lighting seems basic but does exactly what is needed and I imagine is far more intricate than you’d think but to me, that means it is a job very well done. It is well directed by Peter Reid and you can tell Reid has a great affinity with Samuel Beckett’s work.

Would I recommend you go and see it… perhaps controversially only if you know you like the play. I think it is one of those “cult-like” plays, you’ll either love it or be bored to tears. Sadly I fall into the second category and it wasn’t for me; the director, the actors, the lighting were all great delivering a great version of the best-known play of Beckett but for me, it just isn’t an interesting enough script all the way through. There are snippets that are funny, thought provoking and there are parts where I struggled to keep my eyes open. If you like Waiting for Godot then this is an excellent revival and comes across as well polished machine.

3 stars

Review by Lee Cogger

Didi and Gogo wait on a country road by a tree for a man named Godot. All they know is that when Godot arrives they will be saved. If he doesn’t arrive they have to come back tomorrow and wait again.

So begins and ends Samuel Beckett’s masterpiece. Arguably the greatest play of the 20th century. Didi and Gogo pass the time by playing games, arguing and questioning why they are waiting. Pozzo, a landowner arrives with his slave Lucky who he is bringing to the fair to sell. They pass the time. Pozzo and Lucky leave. A boy arrives and tells them Godot won’t come today but surely tomorrow. They wait.

Tuesday 5th – Saturday 23rd September
Arts Theatre
London

Summary
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Waiting for Godot
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