Endgame

Tue 9th – Sat 13th June 2015

reviews

Megan Dunne

at 01:36 on 10th Jun 2015

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Endgame is excellent. From the moment you walk into the theatre, you are greeted with the wonderfully bizarre pre-state of the disguised Tim Akin, covered in clear plastic sheeting, and Seth Kruger, slouching in the Corpus Door and glaring without end (I personally admired his commitment to this as the minutes ticked by). And, of course, the bins. Nicole Ng’s set design shines from the outset; everything on stage is simplistic and significant. The colours of the set, actors and costume evince the attention to detail that was a huge boon to this show. Carlill and Amphlett, with identical sandy hair and pale skin, look like they could be twins, while the other duo of Akin and Kruger are matched in blacks, whites and browns. The green handkerchief was a well-placed splash of colour that emphasised the co-ordination of the others. Coming into the theatre ignorant of the plot or even the number of characters in the play, it was a delightful shock when Declan Amphlett first popped his head out of his bin as Nagg. I enjoyed every aspect of this show so much that it would be hard to single out a favourite, but Amphlett and Alice Carlill as the duo of Nagg and Nell were a strong contender. Carlill’s handling of the ambiguous and often challenging Beckett dialogue was always original and engaging, and each expression and inflection of speech was a delight. Amphlett was similarly impressive, and the two bounced off each other seamlessly. The physicality of their existence inside the bins - the elbows outside the lid when they were more engaged in their conversation, and then the tips of their fingers barely gripping it as they became more perturbed or unsure; their lowering into their confines when they were done speaking - was obviously a product of sublime direction and acting talent combined. Likewise, Kruger’s physicality was enjoyable. The repetitive nature of his motions, being the only character who moves independently about the stage, was carried off well by his stiff and dour steps. The footprints in the white ‘insecticide’ that covered the stage floor by the final moments were a lovely touch on top of this, exhibiting the repetition and monotony of Clov’s actions. Kruger’s performance as Clov, the main cynic and engager of the play, was always entertaining. He determined the beat and rhythm of the whole play, and did it well. Costume design was detailed and well executed. It was a minor shock to see the almost-nude actors on stage upon entering, but it certainly added to the cynicism and griminess inherent to the play. It seems almost obvious to say that Tim Akin’s portrayal of Hamm was just incredible. As Endgame is an Irish play, I feel it’s apt for me to express that his performance was evocative of Brendan Gleeson (which is possibly the highest compliment I could pay an actor); especially in his role in the Irish short film Cáca Milis. In this Gleeson also plays a blind man, and his emphatic use of his mouth and body to make up for his eyes being hidden was mirrored by Akin as Hamm in a similar display of talent and innovation. Akin’s performance was solidly impressive throughout the entire play, and fulfilled all the demands of such an interesting character. It was certainly one of the most satisfying and professional of those I’ve seen in Cambridge theatre. Basically: go see Endgame. Sam Fulton, along with his small band of actors and production team, has created a stellar piece of theatre that is well worth an hour and a half of any theatre-goer’s life.

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