9 June 2015. Sydney Theatre Company’s Waiting For Godot has opened in London to great acclaim. The show, featuring Richard Roxburgh, Hugo Weaving, Luke Mullins and Philip Quast, directed by STC Artistic Director Andrew Upton, was a hit in Sydney in 2013 and in London the response is as enthusiastic.
In a five star review in the UK Daily Telegraph, Jane Shilling writes: “There is a theatrical experience as rare as it is wonderful, when you realise in the opening moments of a play that nothing will go wrong: you are about to spend two hours in the dark, captivated, moved and, when you leave, in some way changed. This is what Upton and his cast achieve in a production of luminous intelligence and virtuoso physicality.” Her verdict: “Godot’s cavernous reserves of pity, horror and comedy have seldom been so beautifully explored.”
The Evening Standard’s Fiona Mountford also considers it a “superlative production” stating “the last time I saw Godot a few years ago, I was impatient, but this time I was enthralled”. Of the two lead actors she writes: “they’re a felicitous partnership, at ease and sparking off each other. Weaving, revelling in Beckett’s spare and surprisingly witty language, has a delightfully rumpled grandeur while the equally excellent Roxburgh bursts with a more impatient pragmatism. Among the many things that Andrew Upton’s supple, confident production gets right are the silences, making them as compelling and thoughtful as the lines that surround them.”
According to another five star review, from Honour Bayes in The Stage, “at nearly three hours, it flies by, but Andrew Upton’s production is anything but flighty. With profound pathos it illuminates the tragic epicentre of Beckett’s masterpiece, shooting arrows into the heart that take hold and won’t come loose.” It continues: “Richard Roxburgh and Hugo Weaving’s tender partnership is a treasure … Together they play the vaudevillian fools beautifully, utterly on beat with each clownish turn. Philip Quast’s Pozzo bristles with bombast but also a rather bemused charm while Luke Mullins as Lucky is genuinely disquieting as the snorting, painstaking slave.”
For Metro, Claire Affree says simply: “Upton’s production is refreshingly unpretentious … Beckett’s play remains mysterious, but this coherent production articulates some of those mysteries beautifully.”
Lyn Garder in The Guardian asserts: “This is an evening that is clear, intelligent and boasts real chemistry between Weaving (bearded and unrecognisable from his roles in The Matrix and Lord of the Rings) and Roxburgh."
The Barbican engagement is STC’s second invitation to the leading international arts centre following the success of Gross und Klein (Big and Small) in 2012.
Attached image of Richard Roxburgh and Hugo Weaving by Lisa Tomasetti.
Links to a selection of reviews: