5 February 2020

“And we laugh, we laugh…”: Endgame Press Night a Roaring Success

Samuel Beckett’s Endgame and Rough For Theatre II, starring Alan Cummings and Daniel Radcliffe, opened in a double-bill at the Old Vic last night with great aplomb.

Richard Jones (The Hairy Ape, Into the Woods) directs Alan Cumming (The Good Wife, Cabaret), Daniel Radcliffe (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Harry Potter film series), Jane Horrocks (King Lear, Absolutely Fabulous) and Karl Johnson (King Lear, Mum) in Samuel Beckett’s macabre comedy in which hope and cruelty are the last things to die.

(Clov- Daniel Radliffe and Hamm- Alan Cummings)

The 1957 play, Endgame follows Hamm, an old blind man, and his servant Clov, “stuck in a nearly empty, bland interior… enact self-flagellating routines of storytelling and distraction.” (Mert Dilek, Broadway World, ****) The pairs’ thoughts and reflections are occasionally interrupted by an old-couple (Nell and Nagg) who live in dustbins nearby. 

(Nell- Jane Horrocks and Nagg- Karl Johnson)

Mark Lawson (The Guardian, ****) praises Radcliffe’s “impressive vocal heft and variety” and “his impressive comedic physical skills.” Agreeing, Nick Curtis (Evening Standard, ****) also praises the once-exclusive-harry-potter-star, saying “Radcliffe gives his best stage performance yet.” 

Preceding this, the curtain opener for the evening Rough for Theatre II is one of Beckett's rarely performed plays about two men discussing the fate of the other man in the room. For Nick Curtis (Evening Standard, ****), Alan Cumming is “hysterical, in every sense”.

For Dilek, “These two off-kilter plays share a concern with how, or whether, daily minutiae - questions and answers, desires and hostilities, inanities and profundities - mount up to a life. Their provocations may not be easy to digest, but Jones's production makes sure that they linger in the mind beautifully.”

Endgame/ Rough for Theatre II at the Old Vic until 28th March TICKETS

Photographs: Manuel Harlan

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