RAW: Waiting for Godot – Her Majesty’s – June 9 – 12
Directed By Sean Mathias
Reviewed By Miriam Keane
Samuel Beckett’s famous composition often leaves individuals struggling to provide a description of just what it is about. In Beckett’s own words, it’s two men “blathering about nothing in particular”. A more accurate summary might be that it explores the themes of life, death, and the waiting game that we all play in-between the two.
On a gloriously bleak set, never defined in time and space, we meet Estragon (Ian McKellen) and Vladimir (Roger Rees). They have come to this place with the usual issues plaguing old men – ill-fitting shoes, bladder control and memory lapses – but there is also the bigger problem of needing to pass the time until Godot comes to meet them. Into the mix come the intimidating and brash Pozzo (Matthew Kelley) and his tethered, downtrodden servant Lucky (Brendan O’Hea); travellers who provide a welcome distraction.
This play has the potential to be very boring. Happily, this was never an issue in the hands of the wonderful talent involved in this particular outing of the piece. Taking Beckett’s complex and often repetitive dialogue, the players turn it into an engaging, and frequently amusing, snapshot of the characters and their plight. Indeed, it is the non-verbal aspects of the performances which are most enthralling and highlight the calibre of those involved.
Exploring the hopelessness and pointlessness of the human condition, this play leaves audiences thinking, while also managing to avoid making them morose. Rather, spirits are lifted by the undeniable feeling of having witnessed something great.