Complicite’s new production of Samuel Beckett’s 1957 existentialist play Endgame opened last night (15 October 2009, previews from 2 October) slightly later than originally planned – and with two different leading men, Mark Rylance (appearing in between his stints in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem) and director Simon McBurney, stepping in for Richard Briers and Adrian Scarborough who withdrew at the start of rehearsals (See News, 11 Aug 2009).

But if the production has encountered difficulties due to the changes and delays, it has benefitted from plenty of stellar support. In the programme, Marcello Magni, Douglas Rintoul and former Royal Court artistic director Ian Rickson are all credited as bolstering McBurney off-stage as associate directors.

And there were plenty of other famous faces cheering the company on at last night’s opening at the West End’s Duchess Theatre, where it continues until 5 December; amongst them, Aidan Gillen, Frank Skinner, Geraldine McEwan, Phyllida Lloyd, Danny Sapani, Neil Pearson and Douglas Hodge.

Set in a bare, partially underground room, Endgame finds a wheelchair-bound Hamm (Rylance) passing the time by ordering his servant Clov (McBurney) to move him around, fetch objects and peer out the window for signs of life, while his bin-dwelling parents Nagg and Nell look on. Miriam Margolyes and Tom Hickey co-star as Nell and Nagg in the four-hander.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF ENDGAME’s 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.
PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand at for the Endgame curtain call at the Duchess Theatre and the post-show party at Adam Street Club.

Endgame was last seen in the West End in 2004, when Matthew Warchus directed a cast led by Michael Gambon and Lee Evans at the Albery Theatre (See News, 15 Dec 2003). The new Complicite production is designed by Tim Hatley, with costumes by Christina Cunningham, and sound by Christopher Shutt.