1st Night TV: Waiting for Godot Hits the West EndDate: 8 May 2009
The wait is over. Sean Mathias’ hugely anticipated revival of Samuel Beckett’s 1955 classic Waiting for Godot, starring theatrical titans Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, has finally arrived in the West End after months of anticipation and an eight-week regional tour (See Review Round-up, 7 May 2009). It opened on Wednesday (6 May 2009, previews from 30 April) at the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket, where it recently extended its season by a month to 26 July.
In Beckett’s masterpiece, McKellen and Stewart are Estragon and Vladimir, two tramps who pass the time by a deserted road as they wait for the mysterious Godot. They’re joined in the cast by Simon Callow and Ronald Pickup as Pozzo and Lucky.
Along with our photographer (See 1st Night Photos, 7 May 2009), our TV partners at Reelkandi were at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on opening night with cameras rolling. Video coverage includes interviews with all four stars - Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Simon Callow and Ronald Pickup - as well as director Sean Mathias.
The child actors chosen to alternate in the role of a boy alongside the four veteran thespians in the West End are: George Sear, Richard Linnell, Sam Walton and Tom Barker. The production is designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis, with lighting by Paul Pyant, and produced by the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company, in partnership with Duncan C Weldon.
Waiting for Godot is the first offering in a second season of in-house programming, for which Mathias has been appointed as artistic director. Subsequent productions in Mathias’ season – which follows the 2007/8 inaugural season helmed by Jonathan Kent – are expected to be announced imminently.
- by Terri Paddock