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West End waits for Godot once more

Reporter: Charlotte Marshall, first published Fri 27 Nov 2009 12:33
Ian McKellen in Waiting For Godot at the Theatre Royal Haymarket (Photo: Sasha Gusov)/servlet/file/store5/item108544/version1/fileservice770/108544_770_preview.jpg

Sean Mathias’s sell-out production of Waiting For Godot, starring Ian McKellen and Ronald Pickup, is to be revived at the Theatre Royal Haymarket next year for a strictly limited run. Joining the cast are Roger Rees and Matthew Kelly, replacing former cast members Patrick Stewart and Simon Callow.

Waiting For Godot, which opens on 27 January, after previews from 21 January, follows two consecutive days in the lives of tramps Vladimir and Estragon, as they wait expectantly for the arrival of the mysterious Godot, joking and clowning around to pass the time. First seen on the London stage over 50 years ago, Samuel Beckett’s surreal play has continued to shock, please and mystify audiences ever since.

This production of Waiting For Godot was first seen at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in May this year and played to packed houses until 9 August.

Returning to his original role of Estragon is the acclaimed actor McKellen who will star opposite Rees as Vladimir. Rees made his name as a series regular on Cheers and has continued working on American dramas, recently appearing in the popular series Grey’s Anatomy and The West Wing, as well as appearing in films including The Invasion, The Prestige and family comedy The Pink Panther. A British actor, Rees also boasts impressive London stage credits, working extensively for the RSC in productions including Love Labour’s Lost, Cymbeline, Othello and Three Sisters, as well as appearing in Hapgood at the Aldwych theatre and The Real Thing at the Strand theatre (now the Novello theatre). In 1980 he won a Laurence Olivier Award for Nicholas Nickleby at the Aldwych and Old Vic, before it transferred to the New York’s Lincoln Center where he was awarded a Tony Award for his performance.

Kelly takes on the role of Pozzo, a man passing through on the way to sell his slave Lucky (Pickup). Most recently seen on the London stage in Comedians at the Lyric Hammersmith, Kelly’s stage credits include Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf at the Trafalgar Studios, Troilus And Cressida at Shakespeare’s Globe and Amadeus at Wilton’s Music Hall. He won the Best Actor Laurence Olivier Award in 2004 for his performance as Lenny in Of Mice And Men. Perhaps still best known to the public for presenting ITV’s Stars In Their Eyes, Kelly has also appeared on television as an actor in dramas Cold Blood, Bleak House and Where The Heart Is.

Waiting For Godot returns to the venue following Mathias’s second production as Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, which ends its run on 9 January.


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