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WAITING FOR GODOT REVIEW AT THE LICHFIELD GARRICK

08 March 2017

By Rory Payne
★★★★

David Stonehouse has made a brave decision to direct "Waiting for Godot" at the Lichfield Garrick. His daring choice of play is one that definitely pays off and is a great example of a quality performance and stagecraft. In some form or another most people have heard of "Waiting for Godot", and probably share the guilt that it is something they should familiarise themselves with. Those who were lucky enough to see it this week were treated with a very special event; unfortunately those who missed it may be waiting quite some time before they get another opportunity.

"Godot" makes you work for your ticket. With a plot line that is essentially the title of the play the audience are left in an awkward non-space that can be uncomfortable and difficult. This is not a bad thing. Too often performances can be easy forms of escapism however the philosophical potential of "Godot" forces you to think and desperately grasp onto the lines delivered.

Specific mention must be made of a cast that were simply sublime. Ian Parkes and Ian Davies as Vladimir and Estragon respectively worked together like a finely tuned poem. Their abilities to fill the space with their presence as well as their mastery of Beckett is impressive. Their delicate handling of the comic and tragic are well balanced and ensure that the audience are "on side" all the way through.

Adrian Venables embodies his character from start to finish making him a delight to watch. He absolutely commands the stage as Pozzo.. With such strong performances the cast manage to balance and share the attention of the audience like expertly passing a ball around a room. His "Hog" or "Pig" Lucky, played by Richard Clarke is a snivelling wreck that is tied with a long rope commanded by Pozzo. Lucky's spotlight monologue was a fantastically mad rambling with an energy and immediacy that had rumblings of Borris Johnson come Albert Einstein (in spite of the tennis).

Finally, the young boy played by Joe Venables provided an almost haunting contrast to the aging beardy men on stage. The audience audibly gasp when the pure messenger appears from within the audience. Joe Venables executes this small but integral character with professionalism and skill adding another a layer to this infinitely deep play.

Overall Different Animal has once again brought exciting and interesting theatre to The Garrick proving that it really worth taking a risk and seeing something, well, different.


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