I consider it to be the theatrical event of the year. Sir Ian McKellen – veteran of the stage and screen – is starring in a 2-week run of Waiting for Godot in Cape Town. It’s, unfortunately, only in the Mother City and not travelling to Joburg, so I came here for opening night this past weekend. A number of my fellow arts journos also made the trip – all to witness a true talent on the stage.
It was, as I had believed it would be, a trip worth making. Sir Ian McKellen’s performance is filled with nuances that breathe life into a character that is essentially waiting to die. Every cough, every clearing of the throat, every hobble onto or off of the stage has been thought out so that it becomes fluid and natural. He brings such comicality to the role of Estragon that lifts the production from what could otherwise be (and sometimes, I’m told, is) quite a sombre mood.
I think it is an inspired move, one that will help ignite the spark of passion for acting in some youngsters who might otherwise have never had the opportunity to see this particular performance of Samuel Beckett’s classic.