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This is a very creditible performance of a must-listen play, with the humor and tragedy and what I can only call the surealistic realism of Beckett at his best.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
Ah, what a delightfully bleak, humorously horrible, grotesquely sublime, slapstickishly nihilistic, transcendently claustrophobic, bracingly despairing, and entertainingly frustrating play Waiting for Godot is! It's perfect.
And I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this audiobook version. The British actors, Sean Barrett, David Burke, Terence Rigby, and Nigel Anthony, are excellent, bringing Beckett's text and characters alive with wit, heart, and perfect timing. The two friends Estragon and Vladimir are an appealing pair of morosely and stubbornly heroic fools: ever waiting in the wasteland for the never appearing Godot, ever complaining about and attempting to understand their situation, never mustering the courage to escape it, repeatedly forgetting their past, playing off each other's words like suicidal comedians, sometimes arguing, and often treating each other with moving affection. There is something strangely comforting about their never-ending failures. As if an adult Charlie Brown were living with Eeyore instead of Snoopy. Pozzo and Lucky, the foil-pair of Estragon and Vladimir, are morbidly fascinating in their abusive master-slave relationship.
Here are a few of the many great moments in the audiobook: when Lucky "thinks," when Estragon and Vladimir pass their hats and Lucky's back and forth between them, when the boy angel delivers his messages (that Godot will surely come tomorrow!), when Estragon and Vladimir "abuse" each other and then make up, when Estragon and Vladimir debate helping Pozzo up, and when Pozzo makes his woeful speech, "They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more."
Waiting for Godot (like any play), of course, is a visual work of art best experienced performed live on stage. However, if you are unable to see it like that, listening to this audiobook would be the next best thing, and a wonderful experience in itself.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Waiting for Godot in three words, what would they be?
sorrowful, hopeful, amusing
Who was your favorite character and why?
It's a tough choice, but I have to go with Vladimir. Sean Barrett's performance was exceptional, and of all the characters in the play I found Vladimir to be the most complex and interesting. He's both capable of fits of near rage and moments of gentle tenderness towards others. I felt he was also the one who understood his situation most, hense his despair at the end of the play. That never fails to break my heart.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
I love the back and forth chatter between Vladimir and estragon, but my absolute favourite scene is the one where they stage an argument with each other and then stage a makeup. Estragon's line 'Crritic!' and Vladimir's hurt reaction to it is my favourite in the entire play and the way the scene is delivered here is, in my mind, exactly how it should be.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
It needs to be. It's a play, so it's not meant to be divided up into several sittings.
Any additional comments?
This is by far the best edition of Waiting for Godot I have heard, and adapting it for a purely audio setting must not have been easy. It's even better than the 2001 film.The actors stick almost exclusively to Beckett's original text, with a few small changes made to offset the fact that you can't see what the characters are doing. The only scene where I had any complaint was during Lucky's speech. There are stage directions that go with it, to show how the characters react, but obviously this wasn't doable, and it does detract a little. This play was so beautifully done and each actor played their part flawlessly. I wish I had been able to hear it when I was studying this for drama in highschool. I would have gained a much greater understanding of Beckett's work.
Occasionally the main two actors hit the wrong notes but this version was well-produced and would serve as a fine introduction to the text.