“Mr Godot won’t come here today but he’ll surely arrive tomorrow.”

Such is the line that shakes Vladimir (played by Neill Fleming at the moment in this iteration of the play by the Dublin-based AC Productions), 1 of our 2 protagonists in the critically acclaimed international production of Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett.

While Vladimir questions the titular character’s messenger boy (played by Felix Knight), his forgetful companion Estragon (Patrick O’Donnell) dozes off on a nearby rock, oblivious to his friend’s growing despondency.


The Wait’s Not So Long With a Friend

The play revolves around a pair of friends, Vladimir and Estragon, as they wait on a barren country road for their salvation in the form of a man named Godot. As the days crawl by and the wait intensifies, the duo play games, entertain each another with vaudevillian tricks, and question the meaning and consequences of their wait for this Godot, whom they’ve neither seen nor met – all to pass the time until he arrives.

The arduous wait is punctuated by the arrival of Pozzo (Paul Kealyn), an oppressive landowner, and his slave Lucky (Nick Devlin), whom he perpetually keeps on a leash – literally.

While looking out for Godot, Vladimir and Estragon engage in lengthy contemplation, even contemplating suicide at a point. Their dialogue and actions reveal more about the intriguing relationship between “DiDi” and “GoGo”, names that they affectionately call each other by.

For instance, when Vladimir rouses Estragon from his slumber on the rock, the latter whines about it. “There are times when I wonder if it wouldn’t be better for us to part,” Estragon says coldly, to which a sarcastic Vladimir replies, “You wouldn’t go far.”

Despite their differences, they immediately seek each other when foreign characters such as Pozzo and Lucky appear, and even share hugs from time to time. These elements come together to lend the characters a surprising level of depth in a play that doesn’t actually have much of a plot.


Worth The Wait

Neill Fleming and Patrick O’Donnell perform stellar executions of their respective lines, bringing the pessimism of Vladimir and the whining tendencies of Estragon to a level of life and liveliness that makes them feel superbly human, even in a setting as dull and grim as the middle of nowhere with just a skeleton of a tree and an unimpressive rock to define the landscape.

The same could be said for the other characters that had significantly less lines – especially so for Devlin, who performed a surprising burst of monologue.

Besides their vocal expertise, the actors’ impressive use of body and facial language brought out the full potential of their respective characters. This resulted in an enjoyable 2-hour play, which was a lot less drawn-out than we had expected.


A Special Play Among Plays

Part of what makes Waiting For Godot so unique is that it’s an absurdist play. In the context of a literary work, this means that the play uses disjointed, repetitious, and meaningless dialogue with a plot that lacks realistic developments to emphasize the absurdity of human existence.

In this case, these qualities see exceptional use and success in the creation of a universe that makes less sense the longer you stay in it, while allowing audiences to somehow still relate to and understand the characters in the tale.

As strong as the use of the absurdist style here, the play’s true strength is the way it opens itself for interpretation in so many ways.

Is it worth waiting for Godot? Regardless of what Vladimir and Estragon believe, this writer thinks it’s completely worth it – or at least until we can come to our own conclusions what everything in the play means. And that could take a while.



Rating: 4/5

Venue: School of the Arts 

Date: 19 Nov – 23 Nov 2014

Runtime: 2hrs 20min (with 20min intermission)

Pricing: $88 / $68 / $58 (excludes booking fee) from Sistic


Cast List:

Vladimir – Neill Fleming

Estragon – Patrick O’Donnell

Pozzo – Paul Kealyn

Lucky – Nick Devlin

Boy – Felix Knight or Yago Parrilla


Photographs courtesy of ABA Productions