Written by Samuel Beckett, Directed by Robert Rae
Unity Theatre (27th November 2007)

Reviewed by Alison Cornmell

As a former English student I’d read Beckett’s plays, and watched them on video in boxed off corners of the library. I had written essays waxing lyrical about his stage directions and argued theories of why he puts his characters in urns, but I had never watched a live performance. Last night I saw Beckett’s Endgame at the Unity theatre and never has a performance of any play had such an effect on me.

The themes, motifs, symbols that I once made notes about in lectures, and regurgitated in exams suddenly slapped me round the face. I remember dryly writing things like ‘Beckett invites his audience to think about their own lives and its futility’ but suddenly I found myself in this imagined audience and I was forced to think about my own life.

Am I a version of Clov? Am I stuck in a repetitive cycle? A cycle that I am aware of and will always threaten to break but never actually will. In the end are we alone, surrounded by people we interact with but have no real connection with? Perhaps this is an overdramatic and depressing response but this was why I loved the play.

The performances from both Nabil Shaban (Hamm) and Gary Robson (Clov) were beautifully sinister and made Beckett’s script even more meaningful. The set design was macabre, obscure and darkly comic a perfect reflection of the dialogue.

My emotions were pulled up and down, I was reduced to near tears by a poignant speech and then made to laugh by a strange Eeyore alarm clock. I left the theatre feeling drained and tired, yet my head was buzzing. It was wonderful. Rarely does a play provoke such a response in me. I can now call myself a true Beckett fan and am hungry for more.

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