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Nothing Happened – but Everything Did

Theatre Review

By Marcus Bower

 Regarded as “the most significant English language play of the 20th century”, Stan Gottschalk’s much anticipated production of Waiting for Godot opened successfully at the Earl Arts Centre on Wednesday night.

 Subtitled a tragicomedy in two acts, Samuel Beckett’s critically acclaimed work challenged and entertained the large and appreciative opening night audience in equal measure.  Given that there is no linear narrative as such, the script can and has been interpreted on a number of philosophical platforms; however, if Waiting for Godot is some theatrical enigma wrapped in a dramatic puzzle, then Gottschalk and company went a very long way in unravelling the marvellous mystery that is this play.

Essentially two characters, Estragon and Vladimir wait endlessly and in vain for someone named Godot to arrive. As the chief protagonists, Jeff Hockley and Michael Edgar worked the script with flair and feeling.  Their timing and interplay were wonderful to witness as Hockley’s comedic skills bounced off the more austere Edgar in what appeared to be a vaudevillian homage to Laurel and Hardy.  The clown and the tormented thinker reflected in so many ways Beckett’s belief that life was an endless mix of laughter and pain that we all had to endure...

 Into this existential world strode Kendan Lovell as the deliciously despotic Pozzo and his much put upon servant Lucky, played with a deft touch by the multi-talented Chris Jackson.  Their arrival and departure rattled the dramatic cage and added yet another dimension to this powerful piece of theatre.  Billy Cure as The Boy completed the talented ensemble.

 Randall Lindstrom’s striking minimalistic set gave the play a marvellous theatrical platform while the atmospheric lighting design added significantly to the play as a whole.

 Stan Gottschalk’s Waiting for Godot was an intelligent, provocative and ultimately rewarding dissection of the human condition where nothing happened-but everything did. It is a significant addition to Three River Theatre’s enviable body of work and should not be missed.  It continues at The Earl Arts Centre until October the 22nd so don’t wait –book a seat now!