DramSoc’s production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot was an impressive showing by a society showing off its theatrical chops. A difficult play, Ben Meacher and Manu Greenfield as Vladimir and Estregon led the play with panache and seemed to have a good chemistry with one another. In difficult roles they performed well and confidently. They could, however, have benefited from picking up on their cues faster and increasing the variety of the pacing they used in their lines as some sections felt monotonous and unnatural. There were moments of highly polished dialogue when all actors ran on oiled wheels and lines flowed smoothly from one to the next. However, it was hard not to notice the moving back and forth between the practised and less practiced sections of the play. On the less positive side, engaging with the audience was an idea that should have been left in the rehearsal room. The play already has humorous sections but mugging to the audience only served to undermine the more serious sections of the play.
Stars of the show were certainly Roman Lewis and Sophie Stevenson as Lucky and Potso. Potso commanded the stage, sometimes so well that other actors were often overshadowed. Stevenson made Potso a towering spidery scarecrow of a character, scuttling and bellowing across the stage. A malevolent presence, she was brilliant as a truly frightening figure, swinging rapidly from generosity to malevolence and back. Her decline in the second act was made even more tragic having seen the heights from which she had fallen. A tour de force and I hope that she will continue to act for the society going forward.
Lewis’s commitment to the role was extraordinary, bending and contorting his large frame in a way that was truly horrifying to witness. His famous monologue was well performed if idiosyncratic. He chose to break up his Think with pauses and movement in a way that was not completely successful. The use of language in the passage, however, was striking and reached its audience more powerfully than many other productions had achieved. Another talent that I hope the society will foster.
Final commendations to the set and tech. The set was mimimal with a single gaunt and striking tree that dominated the stage and would not have been out of place in an independent London theatre.