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Waiting For Godot – Smock Alley – Review

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Waiting For Godot – Smock Alley Theatre 1662 – Review by Frank L.

Runs from 24th-29th August in The Main Space

Written By: Samuel Beckett
Directed By: Patrick Sutton

This production has a week long run at Smock Alley Theatre before touring to Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. The three-sided layout of the theatre permits an intimacy between actors and audience which ensures that the plight of Vladimir, Estragon, Lucky and Pozzo is almost tactile as their physical forms at all times are in close proximity. Olga Criado Monleon’s costume design increases the sense of proximity as the individual taters and threadbare stitching in Vladimir’s (Charlie Hughes) and Estragon’s (Patrick O’Donnell) tattered jackets and trousers are patent … shreds of material just about managing to hold up.

Hughes has previously played the role of Vladimir and brings a knowing authority to the role. Despite the monotony of his existence, he still retains a hope. His movement about the stage is down at heel assertive imbued with a nervous, shuffling energy. He is paired with O’Donnell who makes his debut as Estragon. However his performance is so assured it seems the role has resided always within the very marrow of his bones. The two of them combine when they are together in a “hand and glove” partnership. It is formidable and so it should be as they have been together as characters according to Beckett for fifty years.

Simon Stewart as Lucky was the drivelling wreck of a servile human that the text requires as he is but a slave to Pozzo. However he comes electrifyingly to life when he gets the opportunity to speak. However there is something too stylised in Ronan Dempsey’s Pozzo to make his presence intimidatory. It is difficult to understand how his presence in Lucky’s life could have reduced Lucky to such a servile wreck. However when the entire performance is considered in the whole that is but a small gripe.

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