By Lauren Yarger
I really am not a fan of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, so when another Broadway revival was announced just years after one starring Nathan Lane, it seemed a little too soon to me.
After all, how many times in a decade do we really need to see this odd play which can be mind-numbing at worst and confusing at best -- so much so that people can't even agree on how its title is pronounced (is it GOD - oh, or Gud-OH? -- lately the consensus is with the former.
The answer to the question is, at least one more time. Whether this play is your favorite, or whether you have yet to suffer through -- I mean enjoy -- it, make this production the one you see. The performances here, directed by Sean Mathias, are so good that they make even this existential drivel -- I mean play -- watchable.
The four-star ensemble consists of Billy Crudup (Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia), Shuler Hensley (who blew us out of our seats last year in The Whale at Playwrights Horizons), Shakespearean actor and Oscar nominee Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart, known to "Star Trek" fans everywhere as Captain Picard (but he's a good stage actor too and has a "Sir" in front of his name from Queen Elizabeth to prove it.)
These skillful actors make unlikable characters likable, nonsensical dialogue understandable and a dreary play almost enjoyable. McKellen is truly amazing.
They have a little less luck with the second play they perform in rep, No Man's Land by Harold Pinter, however. I'm not a fan of Pinter either, so the prospect of a doubleheader of his limbo piece with Beckett's "interpret-it-as-you-will" purgatory was almost enough to make me consider turning in my reviewing credentials.....
The second play doesn't have enough of a parameter to allow the actors to make it their own. The most interesting things about it for me was seeing Patrick Stewart with hair.
So forgive me readers, if I wimp out on doing a formal review for these shows. They are what they are. You either want to see Captain Picard, or one or both of these plays, or you don't. If you happen upon them unawares, you'll enjoy some great acting craft. Beyond that, I'm going to let you google the plays, or break out your Sparks notes to decide whether you want to see them. I think you can already tell whether I like the plays themselves and I don't like to be snarky when reviewing.....
Christians might also like to know:
No Man's Land -- Lord's name taken in vain and Language
Waiting for Godot -- Sexual Dialogue, Language,