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

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…