Already closed | 1h 30m | Chelsea

On Beckett

From 63 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Clever, Funny

About the show

Tony Award-winner and MacArthur Fellow Bill Irwin explores his relationship with the work of Samuel Beckett in this New York premiere solo show presented by Irish Repertory Theatre. More…

Bill Irwin can’t escape Samuel Beckett. He has spent a lifetime captivated by the Irish writer’s language. In this intimate 90-minute evening, Irwin will explore both the comic and the tragic sides of Beckett’s work through excerpts of his texts including "Waiting for Godot," "The Unnamable" and "Texts for Nothing."

Member Reviews (63)


Great acting, Absorbing, Intelligent, Clever, Funny
Avg Score

Intelligent, Great acting, Didactic, Untraditional format, Best for beckett fans

See it if you love Beckett and/or Irwin. BI is a terrific actor, and the intellectual crowd cheers for him. There are nuggets of wit and wisdom.

Don't see it if you want an absorbing 90 mins of theater, not a lecture. BI does a gr job w SB's diff words, but this is not a play. It helps to know Godot.

Also Everyone I know loved this piece, but I only liked it. I wanted to see... Read more Read less

Clever, Profound, Thought-provoking, Funny, Delightful

See it if Bill Irwin as actor, clown, and Beckett aficionado. Challenging Beckett excerpts and analysis mixed with hilarious clowning. A treat!

Don't see it if You are not interested in a literary challenge. You don’t enjoy physical comedy. This is performance art, without a traditional narrative.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great writing, Masterful, Profound

See it if Irwin's master class on Beckett is far far more than "Beckett for dummies" Intellect merges with pathos (& of course clowning) for a charmer

Don't see it if A lecture/professorial quality can't be escaped but Irwin still wins us over Looking into life's abyss not everyone's idea of entertainment

Funny, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if Becketts works in laughter and silence, in slapstick form.

Don't see it if Not a play, or don't like Becketts work or clowning.

Also Bill Irwin does a excellent with Becketts works with clowning and body... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Ambitious, Quirky, Confusing

See it if you’re a fan of Samuel Beckett, Bill Irwin, or the acting craft. This plays almost like a master class of Beckett’s works for actors.

Don't see it if pronouncing it “GOD-ot” feels sacrilege to you. Also, by nature of the work, it’s confusing and dense at times, but Irwin breaks it up well.

Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if Experience a true master class by a virtuoso of mime, clowning, acting & Beckett; you want to learn & be entertained; Irwin is mesmerizing.

Don't see it if Honestly, I don't know why you wouldn't want to see this unless you dislike Irwin and/or Beckett, good acting, clowning, learning and magic.

Also Irwin is both profound and magical, while Beckett is a mystery - great... Read more Read less

Bill irwin is wonderful

See it if You appreciate Bill Irwin and Becket.

Don't see it if You don’t like solo shows that are like tutorials.

Scratches the surface, Quirky, Variety acts, Dedicated, Nostalgic

See it if you’ve enjoyed Irwin in Waiting for Godot or other Beckett plays, interested in an actor relating his lifelong obsession w/ 1 playwright.

Don't see it if you can’t keep your expectations in check. Irwin delivers, but bite-sized Beckett isn’t feature-length Beckett. It’s also more optimistic.

Also OB does well demonstrating Beckett’s perspective, but it can actually ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Refreshing, Intelligent

See it if you love Bill Irwin - who doesn't? - and you want a master class in Beckett.

Don't see it if you'll be bored by a scholarly study with some very funny and very moving parts.

Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Academic lecture

See it if you like Bill Irwin - a national treasure.

Don't see it if you consider ruminating about Beckett boring, even with Irwin's great acting illuminating the words.

Intelligent, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You like Bill Irwin and if you know Beckett’s work. Irwin talks a great deal about meaning, interpretations, insight understanding Beckett.

Don't see it if You like Bill Irwin. He does very little clowning. Mostly talk, master class lecture on Beckett. Dull and dry at times, little laughter

Also Irwin is an excellent actor/performer. Some will find this engaging an... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Masterful, Profound

See it if you want to spend 90 minutes completely engrossed in watching and listening to Bill Irwin perform and elucidate Beckett's works.

Don't see it if you need a big cast to provide a full presentation. Alone on stage (with just a little assist), Mr. Irwin is more than sufficient.

Also I was completely captivated and at times felt as though my head would ... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Absorbing, Ambitious, Quirky

See it if Irwin is simply wonderful and thoroughly engaging. He gives a witty, poignant interesting insight into Beckett.

Don't see it if you hate Beckett AND clowns AND solo shows. You're not interested in an "actor's view" of Beckett's work, no matter how amiably delivered.

Also Turns out I love Bill Irwin, but still hate Sam Beckett. Ah well, so i... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Disappointing, Educational

See it if You'd like to see an actor's approach to the difficult Beckett, with a side order of clowning. A great Beckett interpreter shows his love.

Don't see it if You expect this will bring you great insight for future encounters with the work.

Masterful, Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if You admire Beckett & are ready to learn about his writing, use of words & direction from the master showman, Bill Irwin

Don't see it if You prefer musicals or big productions

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Masterful, Enlightening

See it if You are an actor, director, writer, or just a fan of theatre-craft. This doubles as a masterclass in acting and scene analyzation.

Don't see it if You dislike one-man shows. (there is a second actor as a cameo, but it is a one-man show) You dislike Beckett's work. You dislike clowning.

Also "What do I know of man's destiny? I could tell you more about radishes... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if If you want to see Bill Irwin read Beckett. The interpretation of the texts are interesting. And easy to understand.

Don't see it if You do not like staged readings. You require a linear plot.

Enchanting, Entertaining, Funny, Masterful, Profound

See it if You love Beckett. You never heard of Beckett. You love Bill Irwin. You never heard of Bill Irwin.

Don't see it if While this masterclass on the works of Samuel Beckett may not be for everyone. It should be.

Also Confession: I'd pay to watch Bill Irwin read a phone book. The man is ... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Intelligent, Must see

See it if you want to see the inimitable Bill Irwin in a challenging evening which will PERHAPS clarify Beckett fo you a bit. In any case, delightful

Don't see it if you really HATE Beckett and don't want to understand his writing better, and also are not interested in clown tradition.

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Bill Irwin is a genius and it is a pleasure to watch him work. The words are meaningful and the mime superb

Don't see it if You are looking for a big fancy production. Just sit back and watch a consummate performer.

Great acting, Funny, Great writing, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you enjoy the wonderful world of clowns. Bill Irwin is a treasure and his love for Beckett is compelling even if the material is often dense

Don't see it if You want elaborate staging and the dazzle of spectacle. This is brilliant but on a very intimate scale. One man and his art

Clown, theatre and audience heaven

See it if for an actor's sparkling analysis of Beckett's haunting speeches, silences, direction--and laughter of the best kind. Irwin rocks.

Don't see it if you dislike Beckett or slapstick or won't appreciate deep analysis of his forever-cutting-edge work from an actor's viewpoint.

Also Bill Irwin is one of our generation's most brilliant clowns, and also ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Masterful

See it if you like good theater, Becket, Bill Irwin or just intelligent yet funny entertainment.

Don't see it if you really hate Becket. Only reason.

Also This is an entertainer who makes Becket a little comprehensible and li... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Clever

See it if You like Beckett. Bill Irwin does a masterful job of presenting us with some fascinating insights into Beckett. So interesting & enjoyable

Don't see it if You are not interested in Becket's plays/words. Oh...those words!!!

Great writing, Great acting, Intelligent, Haunting

See it if you have an interest in Beckett, or acting (this is an actor's take on Beckett), or clowning, or language, or the human condition.

Don't see it if hearing the word "existentialism" puts you to sleep.

October 3rd, 2018
“The show illuminates the notoriously opaque writings of Beckett without ever betraying their ineffable heart. In like manner, Irwin opens up his bag of performer’s tricks and even spills them out for our inspection...A replete bill of fare, filled with perceptive and appealingly humble observati...
read more
October 3rd, 2018
"The impression is of an intimate but very careful love...This is Beckett-olatry, and his reverence sometimes keeps a lid on the emotion of the material...In this generous, sweet-spirited lecture, then, we can’t quite reach the mental space where Beckett’s mystery operates. Yet Irwin points to it...
read more
October 3rd, 2018
“Utterly delightful...With candor and poignancy, Irwin pulls back the curtain on the process of performing Beckett’s ‘famously difficult’ texts. Infinitely expressive body, bowler hat, and baggy pants are his primary tools. With them, he cracks Beckett open and invites us to step inside...Irwin i...
read more
October 3rd, 2018
"Irwin's masterful renditions, which he infuses with vaudevillian shtick and hilarious clowning, make Beckett's words bloom not just with humor but with poignant emotion...Beckett's unending inquiry into the awareness of one's whereness, with all the potentially terrifying existential questions t...
read more

Related content