Skip to main content

Waiting For Godot

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars


In the middle of nowhere in a barren grey and white world, two old men
stay busy doing nothing while putting their increasingly blind faith in someone
destined to never arrive. So begins Samuel Beckett's now half a century old
piece of bombed-out existential vaudeville, revived here by the Royal Lyceum's
artistic director Mark Thomson to open the Lyceum Company's fiftieth
anniversary season as well as his own swan song in charge of the Grindlay Street
institution.

Casting Brian Cox as a bright-eyed Vladimir and Bill Paterson as
his more melancholy sparring partner Estragon is an inspired move from the off,
as the pair wrestle with ill-fitting boots in Estragon's case or a wet-patch
inducing prostate like Vladimir, all with a time-filling determination that
borders on OCD.

As the pair indulge in terminal small talk and deadpan gallows
humour on Michael Taylor's walled-in semi-circular set that lends things a real
sense of faraway depth, Beckett's theatrical in-jokes remain intact, but are
never over-egged. Instead, a far more moving portrait of broken humanity emerges
than some of the more obviously music hall indebted approaches which the play is
sometimes loaded with.

If itinerant visitors Pozzo and Lucky, played equally
majestically by John Bett and Benny Young, represent an old-school
master/servant hierarchy, Cox and Paterson's Vladimir and Estragon are the last
gasp of a put-down but essentially decent co-dependent democracy in all its
knockabout contradictions. When the pair embrace early on in the second act,
destined to be forever reconciled, the way they cling to each other for comfort
sums up the fall-out of generations thrown onto life's  scrap-heap forever
after.

The Herald, September 24th 2015


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Bdy_Prts

Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
Saturday December 2nd


It should probably come as no surprise that professional dancers are in the audience for the Edinburgh leg of this mini tour by spectral performance art/pop auteurs Bdy_Prts on the back of the release of their sublime debut album, The Invisible Hero. Beyond the music, the raison d’etre of Bdy_Prts’ dynamic duo of Jill O'Sullivan and Jenny Reeve, after all, is a flamboyantly costumed display of kinetic physical jerks and modernist shape-throwing to illustrate a set of fizzing machine-age chorales.

In this sense, the Bdy_Prts live experience is several works of art for the price of one that's a long way from the pair's formative work fronting Sparrow and the Workshop (O'Sullivan) and Strike the Colours (Reeve). Part living sculptures, part Bloomsbury Group super-heroines, part widescreen pop fabulists, O'Sullivan and Reeve paint their faces with ancient symbols and sport customised shoulder pads that look both seasonally …