Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Beckett meets a cast of superhumans

I went to see Waiting For Godot at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, on Tuesday night.

Let me say that I have been a fan of this production since I heard about it last year.

I ended up getting a pretty damn good ticket - front row upper circle. It's not as high as some of the upper circles out there, but from what I could see, I would definitely not recommend the 'gallery'. It's too far back.

The performance itself was just pure, uncut brilliance. It was a playful and witty interpretation of the play and each character shone in their own special way. I wouldn't call myself a 'Godot' expert, but I know the play from studying it in high school, and reading it every now and then over the years. However, from talking with some fellow theatre goers afterwards, I would say that at least some knowledge and understanding of the play was necessary. The comment was that the cast was 'great' but that they didn't enjoy the play so much. It really is one of those 'hit or miss' works, I think.

I don't really want to give away too much of the show itself (even though I know most people may not see it), but let me ambiguously reveal a couple of highlights. Patrick Stewart + dancing and singing, Simon Callow and some great slapstick, Ronald Pickup and the Lucky 'monologue' and just Ian McKellen in general.

Let me say that I am not the type to get starstruck (this is owing to the fact that I myself am hugely famous in The Maldives), but I was pretty damn stoked to meet Mr. Stewart and Sir Ian (or as I now call them - 'Paddy' and 'McIan') after the show.

I had them sign my gorgeous Theatre Royal Haymarket W.F.G programme (which I shall treasure for years) and did the same with the other two masters in the cast - Simon Callow and Ronald Pickup. I had a brief chat with Simon Callow about a performance that he gave not too long ago, at the Royal Festival Hall (which I was lucky enough to attend). He played the part of Tchaikovsky, reading diary entries and monologuing in between the orchestra playing Tchaik's music. It was very cool to talk with him. 

I'm so glad I went to see this show. It was not so much of a 'meaty' production of Godot - it had the more air of two old friends screwing about, waiting for Godot. However, towards the end, Vladimir questions the reality of life through his anger at Godot, for his not being there.

It was sweeeeeeeet. Props to Sean Mathias.