Waiting For Godot at the Arts Theatre London

This production of Waiting For Godot is almost exactly how I envisaged the play upon first reading.

The stripped back stage encompassing a single rock and a twisted old willow gives us nothing to distract from the duo of double acts who help us pass the two-hour running time.

Incredibly minimal staging means we cannot hide from the bleak beauty of Beckett’s play and forces us to walk the tightrope between accepting the absurd and attempting to find meaning in the meaningless.

62 years on from the original staging of this show in the very same Theatre, it is apparent that the British theatregoer is much more accepting of Beckett’s form. Where before there were outpourings of outrage now, there seems a much more open audience. I say open and not understanding because I highly doubt there is anyone who truly understands “Waiting for Godot” but then as Beckett himself admitted to “not having the ghost of a notion about it either” that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

What can be understood however is that, it relies heavily on the actor’s ability to find the very real human aspects to these absurd characters. To play them out as truthfully as possible, to bring to the stage a strong double-act comedic style within the couplings and to above everything be faithful to the rhythm within the play, all of which I feel the quartet did.

Patrick O’Donnell and Nick Devlin’s Gogo and Didi seemed to jump straight from the pages of the play onto the stage to create the crippling co-dependent coupling of two old men just passing the time.

The memory loss, the aches and pains, the inability to urinate properly all played in such a way to make these absurd characters seem extremely normal.

Though Didi and Gogo seemed, in the main to work as a well-oiled double act, I felt there were moments when O’Donnell and Devlin could have found even more humour in the text.

A special mention must also go to Lucky ( Conor Donelan ) whose back-breaking physicality is to be applauded along with his resolute subordination.

Did the play blow me away or suddenly shine a beacon of light on some revolutionary original meaning? No, it did not. However, I am not sure it is meant to; in fact, I think that anyone waiting for that is perhaps also waiting for Godot.

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