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Waiting for Godot, Arts Theatre

A play everyone should watch!

15 September, 2017 — By Sabrina Dougall

IN tribute to the first Briton to direct Waiting for Godot, Sir Peter Hall, who died on Monday, Dublin’s AC Productions brought Samuel Beckett’s masterpiece roaring home to Arts Theatre London, where it debuted in 1955.

Onstage are a rock and a tree with two branches. Upbeat tramp Didi (Nick Devlin) and downtrodden companion Gogo (Patrick O’Donnell) pass between them, waiting, stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Bare staging which enables the (a)musing dialogue to shine; the homeless middle-aged men make do with tattered clothing and chunks of vegetables as the sum of their material possessions. It is the superb character acting and comic timing of Devlin and O’Donnell which deliver the profound, the pointless and the gut-punching humanity of “Godot”.

A haunted Lucky (Paul Elliot) hulks eerily into view, his silence so intense and despairing, one feels desperate to force him into speech. Lucky’s ludicrously long rope calls to mind slavery in all its forms. “I don’t seem to be able to depart,” comments perplexed land- and slave-owner Pozzo (Paul Kealyn).

“’Tis always the way,” broods Gogo.

Beckett’s stirring translation from his original French hits home for a society increasingly aware of male vulnerability to suicide. A play everyone should watch.

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