4 mins to read

Auckland audiences wait in vain for Godot

 Waiting For GodotWritten by Samuel BeckettDirected by Sean Mathias St James Theatre, Wellington

John Daly-Peoples
Fri, 18 Jun 2010


Waiting For Godot

Written by Samuel Beckett

Directed by Sean Mathias


St James Theatre, Wellington

June 30 – July 3


The Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House

July 6 - 10


Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch

July 13 - 15


Acclaimed British theatre star Sir Ian McKellen returns to New Zealand in June for a very limited season of the award-winning production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.


Kay and McLean Productions Pty Ltd, Arnold M Crook, Paul Elliott, Nigel Everett and Duncan C Weldon in association with HVK Productions and Michael Coppel present the Wellington and Christchurch seasons of London’s Theatre Royal Haymarket Company’s production of Waiting for Godot starring Ian McKellen (Estragon), Roger Rees (Vladimir), Matthew Kelly (Pozzo) and Brendan O’Hea (Lucky).


Sir Ian is best known in New Zealand as Gandalf in Peter’s Jackson’s Academy Award-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy and last performed on New Zealand stages in 2007 in the Royal Shakespeare Company productions of King Lear and The Seagull in Auckland and Wellington.


When Samuel Beckett's play exploded on to the stage 50 years ago, it shocked as many people as it delighted. There had never been a play like it; indeed it was said that: "(Beckett) has achieved a theoretical impossibility – a play in which nothing happens, that yet keeps audiences glued to their seats".


In the play, two old friends (Estragon and Vladimir) meet to converse, joke and argue with themselves as they wait through one day and then another for the mysterious Godot. The combination of music hall, poetry and tension redefined what is possible in theatre, so that today, Waiting for Godot is accepted as one of the most significant plays of the 20th century.


The meaning of the play is elusive with Beckett saying very little about it but he did acknowledge that he once joined a group of Frenchmen who waited for several hours by the side of a road for the French cyclist Godeau who was the last in a group of cyclists talking part in a major road race.


Following its record-breaking season last year at the Theatre Royal Haymarket (for both the play and the theatre), Waiting for Godot directed by Sean Mathias will conclude its hugely successful return season in the West End before touring to Australia and then on to New Zealand from May to July this year.


Waiting for Godot has performances at the St James Theatre, Wellington and at the Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch. The show will not be touring to Auckland but it may be as cheap for Aucklanders to fly Sydney



John Daly-Peoples
Fri, 18 Jun 2010
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Auckland audiences wait in vain for Godot