Dublin-born Samuel Beckett lived in self-imposed exile – in Germany until Nazism grew too repugnant, in occupied France where his Jewish friends were rounded up and sent to the camps. As an Irishman he was, in principle, neutral during the war, but ‘you simply couldn’t stand by with your arms folded.’ He joined the French Resistance. After the war, he remained in France and wrote his most devastating work. Waiting for Godot was originally written in French, but Director John Tydeman has chosen actors whose speech is Irish. Beckett’s humour, lamentations, rhythms, vituperations are Irish. The play focuses on the absurdity of human existence – the bankruptcy of hope, philosophy and endeavour. Yet frequently I burst out laughing, however black the humour. Two men walk purposely onto a stage empty except for a tree, but their only purpose is waiting for a man called Godot. The two have been close friends for decades, calling one another baby-names: Go-go and Di-di. Each time that melancholy Estragon tries to leave, Vladimir entices him back, for neither can endure total isolation. Two other characters add hilarity to the frustration. The cast is brilliant, their timing faultless.
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