Here we are again: Hamm can't stand, Clov can't sit, Nell and Nagg are trapped in dustbins, same as ever. Beckett hit his cruising speed (a painful crawl) with this second major exploration of dramatic tedium, sprinkled with self-deprecating references of the "This is called making an exit" type. Lucy Pitman-Wallace seems scared of this yawning (pun intended) void, and makes her actors work at relieving it rather than inhabiting it defiantly: when Hamm ponders, "You don't suppose we're beginning to... mean something?", one gets the impression he's rather been hoping as much. The sheer cussed-bastard challenge that the work still makes to its audience is largely dissipated, leaving little more than a competent and mildly weird entertainment. It's well done, but it ain't Sam.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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