Tonight I experienced quite possibly the most mesmirising stage performances I may ever have seen, with the possible exception of So I Killed A Few People at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1999, but for very different reasons.
I was at Milton Keynes Theatre to watch the phenominal acting talents of Sir Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart alongside Simon Callow in Waiting For Godot and they truly blew me away.
I have to confess that I’m not actually a huge fan of the play – in fact, I’ve never managed to read it all the way through as I got a trifle bored with it (sacriledge I know, but the arts are all about personal opinion) – but they made it a remarkable experience.
There’s an old acting lesson that states that acting is not about acting, it’s about reacting and that couldn’t have been more clearly illustrated than in tonight’s performance. McKellan and Stewart are constantly working in support and opposition to each other, always adding depth and flavour to whatever’s going on in the scene without ever battling to steal the audiences attention.
Didi and Gogo are difficult roles to play – emotions varying wildly, constantly on-stage but rarely actually doing anything – but they played them both with the deftness of touch that made sense of the unfathomable.
I could sit here and write about them all day, but I’d soon run out of superlatives and end up on a Lucky-style meaningless rant, so I’ll take my thinking hat off now and leave it at that.
Suffice to say that it’s still touring round the country and lands in London at the end of May at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and if you – or anyone you know – are interesting in a career in performance, don’t waste your money on silly summer schools which purport to teach you all you need to know in a week, or wile away your time at a second-rate acting school on a three-year degree course*, just save your cash and buy a front-row stalls seat to watch these masters in action. You’ll learn more in 2-and-a-half hours in the Haymarket than most acting course can teach you in a year.
*noted exceptions being the top-notch London training centres like RADA, LAMDA, E15 and Mountview. Possibly LIPA, too.
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