The Coming of Godot: A Short History of a Masterpiece by Jonathan Croall - review by Irving Wardle

Irving Wardle

Why Are We Waiting?

The Coming of Godot: A Short History of a Masterpiece


Oberon 155pp £9.99 order from our bookshop

Last August Peter Hall’s production of Waiting for Godot opened at the Theatre Royal, Bath. This was his fourth production of Samuel Beckett’s play, and it was warmly reviewed; but as the rights were owned by two other managements the show was denied a London transfer and vanished after only eleven performances. All, however, was not lost. The production is no more; but thanks to the presence on Hall’s team of the respected biographer Jonathan Croall, we have an account of how it came into existence. Hall’s enthusiastic foreword to this rehearsal log raises the hope of its persuading others that ‘we were closer to realising the whole play than we had ever been’.

The Coming of Godot is at once a history and a journal. Day-to-day rehearsal notes alternate with chapters on the play’s origin, its first reception in Paris and London, its subsequent performance record, and Beckett’s qualities as a director of his own work. Godot occupies a unique position in the

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