Rare craic – Beckett by moonlight with Druid

Going gently into that good night, again and again, Vladimir/ Marty Rea and Estragon/ Aaron Monaghan Photo:Valerie O’Sullivan

IN TOWN at Lime Tree Theatre into Saturday 10, Druid Theatre magics up an entirely new ‘Waiting for Godot’ that kicks its existential austerity down a dust road. Invested with humour, athleticism and unequal parts benevolence and savagery, the dramatic effect is as sublime as the rose-gold luminosity of the desert staging.

With the arrival of night and dissembly, the rising velvety moon almost sings to be reached and touched, to involve us more in this visceral vision of humanity that lands arse up, alive and not vanquished.

This writer says ‘new’ but in interview with Aaron Monaghan (Estragon), he makes clear that Samuel Beckett had resolute stage direction as to the “almost vaudeville” play to the actors’ interaction.

On the road, this is a show the ensemble members each love doing, marvelling off-stage at its constant jolt to revelation.

Briefly, Marty Rea (in fine voice) is Didi, parental and companionate to Gogo (Aaron Monaghan) who gives as good as he gets in truculence and tiredness. We feel his pain. This man just wants to shake it off, so often, but Didi persuades.

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A brutal cipher of power, Pozzo (Rory Nolan) arrives explosively at the supposed meeting place for Godot, with the man called Pig (Garrett Lombard/ Lucky).

This slave is tied so harshly that humanity is all but garrotted. Yet an entrancing genius for ‘thinking’ is revealed when prodded from hell. There is redemption from the precipice, wickedly manifest in stage design.

There are wonderful circling shows of fatigue, forgetfulness, threats to abandon and resilient care, tender loving. Comedy is black: that earnest inquiry as to whether Gogo’s belt around his trouser is strong enough for them to hang themselves. Experimentally, as it were. You go first.

We smell their smells, belch their farts and lust for proper grub.

They plod on for Purgatory, listlessly waiting for Godot without ascribing purpose to him or this dependency. The one true voice is that of Boy who is kicked to kerb on his innocent mission.

Growing up rarely improves us, does it?

Direction is dreamy and punchy by Garry Hynes, like the cyclical contradictions that inform action in the play’s confounding entertainment – it is very funny – and requirement to believe in the endless vacuum of Godot with the white beard.

www.limetreetheatre.ie to book for 8pm shows, March 8 to 10.

Review by Rose Rushe