Waiting for Godot – Cheltenham Everyman REVIEW

Waiting for Godot is a classic by Samuel Beckett. It’s a sort of marmite of theatre. It’s a very serious play and arguably not a lot happens. But in my opinion that is the beauty of it.

It takes such strong writing and characters to hold an audience’s attention for 2 and a half hours and that is the brilliance of Beckett.

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One of the stars of the show Tweedy (Alan Digweed), is best known for his clowning around in Giffords Circus and the Cheltenham Pantomime every year. This type of production was definitely a change for him but he took to it like a duck to water, bringing the comedy element to his role of Estragon in this tragicomedy play.

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His co-star DiDi/Vladimir was played superbly by Jeremy Stockwell. His comedic background and theatre expertise meant he commanded the stage, drove the plot and was perfect for Digweed to bounce off.

Vladimir keeps the pair by the tree waiting for Godot, but Estragon repeatedly states “I’m going” before being talked round by his friend. They balanced each other perfectly with Digweed’s innocence and naivety contrasting with Stockwells profound intelligence.

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They were accompanied by three other characters. A young boy played confidently by Fraser Martin, a slave-type character called Lucky who was mute with the exception of a long, complicated and passionate monologue brought the audience to immediate rapture, and finally Pozzo who stumbled across the men on both days in both acts.

Both Lucky and Pozzo give strong performances and give a break from the back and forth between Gogo and Didi.

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The main duo dabbled with breaking the fourth wall, emphasising the comedy within the piece further. Tweedy even managed to squeeze in a few circus references and his classic catchphrase of “It’s all dirty”.  I think without this, more of the audience would have gone away even more confused about what they were meant to have seen.

You see, it is essentially about two men waiting for the famous Godot, who (spoiler alert) never actually comes. You can take it for face value and enjoy the stupidity and daftness of some of the scenes, or you can really get your teeth into what Beckett is trying to say. You can take what you want from the play and Tweedy and Stockwell both allowed this brilliantly.

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For me personally I like to think the play is a metaphor about wasting our time waiting for something that we can’t count on.

I’ll admit there were points where my mind wandered from the play in front of me as it requires full focus and concentration due to its consistent steady pace. However this didn’t stop me leaving the theatre questioning various things, people and concepts and that is what darn good theatre can do.

 

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