Itâ€™s the 50th anniversary of the Lyceum Theatre this year, and the new autumn season has opened with the coming together of four of Scotlandâ€™s finest actors who have trodden the Lyceum stage many times over these years.
A new production of â€œWaiting for Godotâ€ has Brian Cox in the role of Vladamir, Bill Paterson as Estragon, John Bett as Pozzo and Benny Young as Lucky. It is perhaps worth noting that Brian Cox appeared in the very first production 50 years ago to be seen at the Lyceum, while 19 year old Bill Paterson was part of that long ago audience.
Just as there was there was great excitement a few years back when two treasures of the English stage – Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart – appeared together as Vladimir and Estragon, so the Lyceum opening night had a frisson of anticipation as we waited to see how our own home grown treasures would interpret the parts. We were not disappointed.
Whereas McKellan and Stewart had appeared as a couple of washed up vaudeville stars, Cox and Patterson are very much two Scottish gentlemen of the road, complete with Scottish banter. Cox is the dynamic one – positive in outlook, optimistic, looking for something to change in the future. Patterson is seemingly Stan to Coxâ€™s Olly – dejected, hangdog, droopy mouthed. Together they bring to Becketâ€™s complex script the interplay of hope and despair that marks this most unusual of plays, where famously nothing happens – twice. Michael Taylorâ€™s bleak white set, inhabited only by the one bare tree, is stunning in its simplicity. Into this seeming nihilism, the bizarre arrival of Pozzo and Lucky counts as much action. Benny Youngâ€™s Lucky suddenly pours out his quasi-Joycean sustained monologue with a passion and verbosity that brings spontaneous applause from the audience.
In this production Mark Thompson has given us a Godot that stands with the best of them in his treatment of this most famous of plays. A fine dramatic start to the Lyceumâ€™s 50th anniversary season.
Lyceum until October 10th
Te:Â 0131 248 4848