Tottering Bipeds, Waiting For Godot

Review in Issue 9-2 | Summer 1997

When Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot was first performed in Paris in the early 50s, it was criticised for being meaningless. Since then it has come to mean something different for each succeeding generation. Today, any interpretation has come to be valid because of the continuing universal themes – fear, love, hope, despair, and the treatment of the modern, but by no means new, need for salvation and the search for meaning; in this case personified by the ever-absent Godot for whom we are all waiting.

Katie London gave us a new look at these old universal, if elusive, truths, with a company of able-bodied and disabled actors. The company highlighted the characters’ communication difficulties which are central to the piece.

James Beddard opened with an extraordinary Estragon, using every available piece of Jessica Spanyol’s beautiful and sparse tree and mound (the only set) to great comic effect. Beddard’s movement difficulties, rather than detracting from, add considerably to the famous boot-removal scene. Once on his feet, his striking features and bent body produced a picture somewhere between a limping spider, and a medieval court jester buffoon, making him magnetic to watch. This was nicely foiled by Simon Startin’s quick, and often still, fast-talking Vladimir.

The piece as a whole, however, was lacking in pace and rhythmic variation, due to a blurring of the line between difficulties in communication amongst the actors and between the characters, so that complicity and ensemble were missing in this otherwise energetic treatment.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 1997

This article in the magazine

Issue 9-2
p. 24