Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for the revival of Samuel Beckett’s play starring Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Cumming.
The Guardian: **** “This production strongly has the feel of a lost cousin to Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter (1957), where temperamentally contrasting men attend another kind of death and which Pinter wrote at almost exactly the time Beckett worked on the first version of Rough for Theatre II. In both this fascinating curiosity and the more celebrated Endgame, Radcliffe and Cumming achieve the Beckett paradox of exhilarating bleakness.”
The Telegraph: ** “But in this case the issue isn’t so much with any fancy directorial conceit as the chemistry, and plausibility, of the players: Cumming taking the mantle of Hamm, the play’s querulous armchair-bound kingpin, and Radcliffe the side-kick role of Clov, his put-upon servant”
The Stage: *** “Jones breathes new life into a play at risk of choking on its own aspic. By majoring on comedy, he shows how even at the bitter end, maybe especially then, life remains completely absurd.”
Evening Standard: **** “Radcliffe and Alan Cumming also have the exquisite timing and rhythm of a seasoned double act as the servant, Clov, and master, Hamm, playing out the same old power games as their bodies steadily decay. There’s no human pity or affection in their home and the world outside is blasted. Endgame is never less than demanding, but Richard Jones’s rigorously clear production nicely balances comic absurdity with despair.”
Time Out: **** “Here, Jones makes difficult theatre entertaining, and also relevant – never a guarantee with Beckett, whose posthumous insistence on precise revivals can easily drift towards the museum piecey.”
The Metro: ** “It’s a gruelling evening. Not because Beckett’s apocalyptic certitude feels so very close to our hell in a handcart era, but because Radcliffe and Cumming never really find the measure of the language, the depths of its cruelty and despair and the humanity in the awfulness. Endgame can inspire elating desolation, but this feels merely attritional.”
Endgame continues to play at the Old Vic Theatre until the 28 March 2020.