West End Plays

Waiting for Godot Reviews - Arts Theatre

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Venue Information
Arts Theatre

Arts Theatre
6-7 Great Newport Street

Seating Plan


(2mins) Take Cranbourn Street away from Leicester Square up to Great Newport Street on your left, where you can see the theatre.

Review Summary
Average Rating: 3 out of 5 stars based on 1 review(s)


Latest Review: "A theatrically sound, dynamic and engaging production, but with its critically flawed interpretat..."

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    Friday, 8th Sep 2017 by JMC

A theatrically sound, dynamic and engaging production, but with its critically flawed interpretation and the audience reaction raising intriguing issues. The dialogue delivery was pretty much played for laughs, a false tone for Beckett. From the off, the audience started laughing wherever a laugh might be found, not least the Irish group behind us who seemed to be responding as if they were at a recording of Mrs Brown’s Boys. The production company AS Productions, serious and reputable, is based in Dublin and Vladimir and Estragon spoke with Irish accents. With this I have zero problems but the homely sardonic intonations patterns seemed to belong to another genre, and fed an audience response as to pure comic writing. Irish tones are potentially as suited to conveying an undertow of misery as any accent. Beckett’s great achievement and his lifelong obsession in productions of his work was tone – how, in the case of Godot do you manage that balance between the intended comedy of the lines and the terror of the tramps’ existence, which their banter tries to cover? Each bit of comic business is a pretence of comedy to fill the void. This irony was not there, and if it was detected by much of the audience, their jollity seemed to belie their perspicacity. Maybe they were relishing the existential irony but ‘tweren’t obvious. Maybe also it is too much to expect such a fine balance to be achieved but neither of us remember a similar staging or a similar audience response. On the positive side, the production did make very clear all the diverse comic devices of the author, and the characters came over as human and individualised. A good pace suited some of the antiphonal exchanges. This is the second recent example of a production of a classic from the post-war past played for laughs when the jokes are a cover for agony - the Boys in the Band though not in the same league as Godot went for first half laughs even more blatantly than this Godot. Just the passage of time, perhaps. Godot was in part a product of World War Two, of Beckett’s and Europe’s experiences of horror. Despite much that was quality in this Godot, I am left a little nonplussed at this revisionism of suffering into entertainment.

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Show Information
Booking From: Friday, 22nd September 2017
Booking Until: Saturday, 23rd September 2017
Running Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

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