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Review: Hugo Weaving is Waiting For Godot, Barbican Theatre

Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh in Waiting for Godot

I've been waiting for Godot (sorry) to return to London for six years. Samuel Beckett's surreal, existential tragicomedy is a Marmite play, I know, but I think it's a great piece. It is a play that tests both actors and audience and one which always gives up something new.

This is a Sydney Theatre Production which is in residence at the Barbican for just over a week and sees Hugo Weaving take on Vladimir and Richard Roxburgh Estragon with Philip Quast as Pozzo and Luke Mullins as Lucky.

Their back drop are the walls of a what looks likes a former industrial building and yet there is proscenium arch of sorts which also looks likes a dressing room mirror frame with most of the bulbs around its perimeter either missing or broken. And of course there is the tree, just a long trunk disappearing off into the flies and one branch.

It is evocative of economic decay, the passing of good times and a reflection of ourselves and the human condition. The latter is an irony that is really brought to the fore in this production. It feels like the play is often poking fun at the audience; as Vladimir and Estragon entertain themselves to pass the time so we are similarly entertained. There is a bleakness and tragedy in everything but equally there is something very warm and comforting. This is a production with no half measures.

The comic performances are brilliantly ridiculous in their physicality, at times outlandish while at others as subtle as a glance or a look. But it never loses the pathos and its heart and it is in those moments that you really feel like a mirror is being held up. It a very personal play, one in which you will interpret and reconcile its themes in your own way while being thoroughly entertained.

Weaving and Roxburgh have a brilliant rapport, their Vladimir and Estragon rub along together just like an old married couple bickering and yet quietly full of care. Quast's Pozzo is superbly affected with a gentile arrogance and Mullins' Lucky delicate and vicious.

At two hours and fifty minutes there is a lot of waiting but I lapped up every second of it. You can catch it at the Barbican Theatre until June 13 and I hope London doesn't have to wait so long for the next production.


Hugo Weaving was in Cloud Atlas with Mr W.