Waiting for Godot @ The Mission Theatre

By Ian Diddams

Images by Playing Up Theatre Company

Samuel Beckett’s existential work is performed in the round this week in Bath’s Mission Theatre, by the Playing Up Theatre Company…..

“Give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves” …. Beckett’s rope is superbly used by the company to great aplomb as it happens. Gogo (Matt Nation) and Didi (Darian Nelson), have no rope to do so whilst wanting to, while Lucky (Sam Fynn) and Pozzo (Jack Strawbridge) do have rope but no suicidal tendencies. Godot naturally never appears although his messenger (Scarlett Nation) delivers his tardy apologies.

These five perform on a traditionally sparse set, with cunning use of lighting for the tree, accompanied by two large rocks and two entrances to frame the action. Heavy winter clothing sets the season. Sophie Brookes’ direction does the rest, ably supported by Richard Chivers’ tech.

“Godot” is fundamentally a five-person, two-hour “monologue”. It’s word heavy, with little flow – “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes”. It has challenging scenes of slavery and abuse. Large parts of it are difficult to fathom. But the company provides a phenomenally slick production that avoids turgidity. This is community theatre at its very finest – professional qualities abounding. All characterisation is stunning, the gibbering loon of Lucky especially – disturbingly – so.

“Godot” ran until Saturday 13th May. The only question you needed to ask is “Shall we go?”. But now like our eponymous heroes… don’t move…

Future productions at the Mission Theatre, Bath, Here.


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