Birmingham Repertory Theatre at:
The Old Rep Theatre, Station Street, Birmingham, B5 4DY
Talawa Theatre Company and North Yorkshire Playhouse present
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Runtime: 2h, 40m: One interval: till 17th March then touring
Start: 19.30: Saturday Matinee: 14.00
Tkts: 0121 236 4455: Email: email@example.com
The tree, the lonely figure struggling to remove his boot, herald the familiar beginning of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’. This production, from the Talawa Theatre Company in collaboration with North Yorkshire Playhouse, features an all black cast setting up new and interesting resonances both within and around the classic text. The West Indian accents of Estragon and Vladimir seem a natural fit for the rhythmic cadences of the language of the play and enhance the sense of these characters’ alienation from the world in which they exist.
Famously this is the play where ‘ nothing happens – twice’, but it is how time passes that counts, and here Vladimir and Estragon wait out the days in clowning, bickering , and occasional explosive outbreaks of violent anger, in a beautifully paced production which allows an intelligent and essentially gently humorous exploration of the deeper meanings of life.
Jeffery Kissoon makes a forlorn and appealing Estragon. Without losing the dangerous edge underlying his downtrodden exterior, he shares his fear of dreams, the expectation of being beaten, and the despair and the boredom of his existence. Patrick Robinson expertly conveys the agonised panic of Vladimir’s desperate grasp on his memories, the need to be assured of his own existence, and his gentle concern for his friend, Gogo. Together they are totally convincing and often very funny, as they hang onto a vestige of hope for something better tomorrow, despite their frustration and anger, and the apparent futility of their life.
Cornell S John makes an elegant Pozzo, whose apparent superiority crumbles convincingly into inadequacy and Guy Burgess’s Lucky is beautifully played, a tragi-comic figure in his landscape of bleak despair, whose performance of his ‘thinking’ well deserves the spontaneous applause it receives.
Even the entrance of the boy, played by Fisayo Akinade as a young innocent in a pure white suit, adds to the sense of dislocation through his first appearance stage left, then later stage right.
Beautifully lit, visually satisfying, well paced and directed, there is always something more to be found in a good Godot, no matter how familiar it is, and this is a very good Godot indeed.
Estragon: Patrick Robinson
Vladimir: Jeffery Kissoon
Pozzo: Cornell S John
Lucky: Guy Burgess
The Boy: Fisayo Akinade
Director: Ian Brown
Designer: Paul Wills
Lighting Designer: Chris Davey
Sound Designer: Ian Trollope
Movement: Aline David
Casting Director: Pippa Ailion
Assistant Director (Birkbeck Trainee): Emily Kempson
For the Tour:
Production Manager: Dennis Charles
Company Stage Manager: Patricia Davenport
DSM: Marisa Ferguson
Relighter: David Philips