Paul Couch - 5th April 2012
There are remarkable milestones in the life of any theatre critic, and we all hope that the majority will be positive ones. This is the case with Talawa Theatre Company's current touring production of Waiting For Godot, produced in conjunction with West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Michael Gray - 3rd April 2012
I've vivid memories of an all-women version some years ago, but this I think is the first time in the UK that five black actors have inhabited Beckett's bleak barren landscape. "Inspiring prospects," one of the tramps says as the houselights go up. There is a laugh, but he'd have to look hard to see many Black faces out there in the audience. Much the same last week in Winchester, I'd guess. However.
Mark Shenton - 9th February 2012
Waiting for Godot may still famously be "a play in which nothing happens, twice" (in the words of literary critic Vivian Mercer), but this West Yorkshire Playhouse/Talawa co-production achieves a rare first with this almost over-familiar classic by casting it for the first time in the UK with an all-black cast.
Beckett's bleak howl of existential despair can make you howl for the existence of this play, but here the cast make you applaud. And not just, as I often feel, because the play has actually ended (unlike life, which seems to go on and on), but because they have given it fresh and illuminating life instead.
Alfred Hickling - 8th February 2012
Waiting for Godot is a play whose co-ordinates rarely alter. There will be tramps engaged in circular conversations; there will be an overwhelming sense of futility; there will be a tree. Yet Ian Brown's production, in association with touring company Talawa, is the first time Samuel Beckett's play has been performed by an all-black cast.
On one level, this ought to be supremely irrelevant. Beckett wrote about the human condition in an abstract fashion that transcended race or creed: there is little reason why an all-black Waiting for Godot should be any more insightful than, say, an all-female one. Yet Brown's concept chips away the carapace of over-familiarity. Vladimir and Estragon become a pair of elderly Caribbeans shooting the breeze ("Nuttin' to be done"); or possibly a pair of broken-down bluesmen standing at a crossroads.