The duo, who have previously collaborated on Medea, Electra, Hedda Gabler, The Waste Land, Richard II, The Good Person of Sichuan and The Powerbook, fell out with the Beckett estate over their 1994 production of Footfalls after contravening specific stage directions. However, they have now received permission for their production of Beckett’s 1960 play, in which Shaw plays sand-buried optimist Winnie. Happy Days runs in rep to 1 March 2007.
Overnight critics all hailed the play as a masterpiece, and enjoyed Shaw’s buoyancy in the role of a woman facing certain death, remarking on her believable, often hilarious performance. However, some were not quite as convinced by her deterioration into sad acceptance, and while many were impressed by the scale of Tom Pye’s apocalyptic set, some felt it was a distraction from the intimate piece.
- by Caroline Ansdell