BWW Review: Fantastic WAITING FOR GODOT at The Wilbury Theatre Group
Samuel Beckett's classic play, WAITING FOR GODOT, opens the Wilbury Theatre Group's 2019/2020 Main Series with a production that gets to the heart of the text - at equal turns funny, philosophic, and sad.
Waiting For Godot marks the Wilbury debut of director Fred Sullivan Jr., starring Richard Donelly and Tom Gleadow in the roles of Estragon and Vladimir (aka Gogo and Didi), respectively. Also appearing for the first time at Wilbury are Brandon Whitehead as Pozzo, local actor Zachary Gibb as Lucky, and the return of Paige Barlow and Hayley Pezza (of last season's Fun Home) sharing the role of Boy.
The sparse set by Luke Sutherland, a few dirt mounds and one solitary tree, along with the costumes by Abigail Dufresne - appropriately shabby for Estragon and moreso for Lucky, finery that borders on foppishness for Pozzo, stay true to what one expects from any production of the show. This is by no means a negative. Instead, this familiarity allows the audience to immerse themselves in the often snappy dialogue and the action taking place both on stage and in the spaces around, behind, among, and above the audience.
Every member of the small cast shines. Donelly and Gleadow have perfect comedic timing and chemistry that rings true for a weary duo, ever trying to find ways to pass the time. Physical humor, bordering on slapstick, and vaudevillian styling is used throughout the show, and both actors are as deft in these aspects as they are with Beckett's words. Brandon Whitehead is delightfully maniacal as Pozzo, particularly in the first act, but as his long suffering servant, Lucky, Zachary Gibb has one of the most surprising and astounding moments in the entire show. While his role appears deceptively simple at first, it then requires a long and often nonsensical monologue requiring not just finesse with the text but a burst of madcap physicality that Gibb encompasses fully.
Although some claim that Waiting for Godot is, in one sense, a play in which nothing really happens, there are also myriad possible interpretations and themes that arise throughout the show, leaving the audience with much to chew on even after leaving the theatre. Combined with the Wilbury Theatre Group's expert handling of the material, don't wait - this is a production you should rush to see.
Waiting For Godot is presented through October 20 at The Wilbury Theatre Group, 40 Sonoma Court, Providence RI. Tickets are $15-$38. For the complete performance schedule call 401.400.7100 or visit The Wilbury Theatre Group online at thewilburygroup.org/waiting-for-godot.