An Evening of the Absurd: Are We All Still Waiting For Godot? was a pleasant revisit of one of the most theatrical forms.
I went into the show expecting to not be able to expect anything, if that makes sense. Part of The Camden Fringe 2013, this two-part show by Closing the Gap Theatre is an intriguing take on the value of time, self-awareness and communication.
Breakfast with Chamberlain, was a cyclic representation of a family’s journey set in 1939, Britain. It was a short play that highlights how families and soldiers lived during the Second World War. On one side of the stage stood a veteran who would bravely repeat the very same line throughout the whole piece. AJ MacGillivray’s excellent process from enthusiastic to desperate is brilliant and you can feel a genuine sense of pain by the end. A piece that is driven by the detailed facial expressions of the cast, who you could tell have great chemistry together. The ambiguous ending still has me wondering what the intention was. What happened with the veteran? What did the change in the veteran mean? And did the family fall apart? These questions are testament to the work put in by the Artistic Director, who post-show told me that his intention was to make the audience dig deeper to work out what happened and what the story means.
Glory Days was the slightly longer, more modern piece which portrays a mockery of identifiable stereotypical characters and situations. The piece was set primarily around an awkward dinner date between four guests. We’d then see the story move back and forth with time to explore each of the characters’ personal lives, confrontations and history. There was an egotistic company boss who is clueless as to what she’s doing, a deluded counsellor who gains and loses motivation at the click of a finger, a genuinely lost woman looking for answers and a normal man; who ironically, was the crazy man in the last piece. The characters of Counsellor (Briony Wyatt) and the Boss (Tiana Khan) were the most enjoyable. Khan was excellent in the piece. Her ability to wonderfully patronise the audience and the other characters, her completely stupid suggestions and conclusions and her utterly oblivious nature were extremely funny and brilliantly portrayed.
Martin Esslin once wrote that “The Theatre of the Absurd… aims to shock its audience out of complacency, to bring it face to face with the harsh facts of the human situation as these writers see it.” Closing the Gap have achieved this aspect well. The show starts in the bar before you walk in as the actors work hard to create a sense of absurdity from the very off-set. Some first night blues were noticeable but for an underground piece, in one of London’s most alternative locations, An Evening of the Absurd: Are We All Still Waiting For Godot? is an enjoyable piece which will leave you looking for answers for several days.
Review by Sahil Jon
Have a look at Closing The Gap’s website http://closingthegaptheatre.wix.com/theatre
Tuesday 6th August 2013