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New York | 2h 20m | Already closed

Waiting for Godot (White Light Festival)

From 21 critic and 27 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Thought-provoking, Funny, Great writing, Profound

About the show

Laugh, abide, despair, persevere: Ireland’s iconic Druid theater company presents Samuel Beckett’s irreverent masterpiece

More…

Existential ennui meets startling slapstick comedy in this reimagining by Tony Award–winning director Garry Hynes ("The Beauty Queen of Leenane") that offers a new take on our tragicomic plight.

2h 20m | Already closed | Gerald W Lynch Theater (Upper W Side)


97
Show Showdown

"Damn close to perfect. Garry Hynes's meticulous direction exquisitely balances the pain and humor of Beckett's heartbreakingly funny play...'Godot' hits particularly hard this time around, with the rich bully Pozzo, full of bluster and in desperate need of constant flattery, being a scarily effective stand-in for our 45th president." Full Review

95
Exeunt Magazine

“Never have I experienced ‘Waiting for Godot’ in such a brand new way than I did with director Hynes’ interpretation...By far the funniest version I’ve seen and it hits closest to home with Beckett’s text. The production fully embraces the possibilities of comedy, both through text and movement in this otherwise very quiet play. The result is deeply satisfying. It galvanizes an unsettling, surreal, and entertaining version of ‘Godot’.” Full Review

90
New York Stage Review

"What I hadn’t been prepared for was her eye-popping casting of tall, pencil-thin Marty Rea as Vladimir and of shorter, inevitably wider Aaron Monaghan as Estragon...Both Rea and Monaghan are first-rate physical actors...Monaghan and Rea, with Hynes, have discovered funny ways not to be able to maintain their balance. They’re constantly brimming with risible behaviors...It’s Beckett who transforms the confused stand-up communications into profound existential humor." Full Review

90
DC Metro Theater Arts

"Combines the play’s signature existentialist angst with slapstick comedy for a brilliant and affecting synthesis of philosophical and physical absurdism...Profound and ridiculous, Druid’s stellar production of 'Waiting for Godot' is a testament to the exceptional talents of the director, actors, and design team, and provides a reaffirmation of the power of Theater of the Absurd in making us think about our inescapable mortality and questioning the purpose of our existence." Full Review

85
New York Stage Review

"A very fine staging...A truly radiant interpretation of Beckett’s challenging work. The closely meshed performances by Rea and Monaghan possess a personal warmth and vitality that brightens the existential desolation of Beckett’s classic...Somehow they are able to be as funny as they are poignant, and that’s quite an achievement...Garry Hynes, the director, successfully infuses Beckett’s bleak study in existence with a warm, wonderful sense of humor and eternal life." Full Review

85
BroadwayWorld

"The production excels at finding the humor in the mundane; it pierces with a gracious, poignant truth of friendship. Haynes mines the piece for its quiet moments and visceral existential angst and vaudeville farce. She firmly redefines our notion of tragic daily rituals while finding the necessary, vital humor...There's immense heart to this production...Hynes direction is assured, filled with comedic grace and the brittle tension of daily grind." Full Review

85
Hollywood SOAPBOX

"This 'Godot' feels both authentic to Beckett’s vision and never earthbound. The four actors in the play showcase their comedic chops, their ponderous waiting, and their general fascination with the deeper themes...Hynes brings authenticity to the text by never steering far from Beckett’s vision... She is able to focus on the simplicity of the story-less story and let the characters jump around different genres, highlighting the comedy and also allowing quick flashes of drama to seep in." Full Review

80
Lighting & Sound America

“Hynes' production has an artfully cartooned quality all its own...The actors seem to leap from one comic conceit to another with such skill that some of the play's darker, deeper notes are obscured. But, in the later passages, a genuine and profound sense of loss emerges...For all its comic invention, Hynes' approach may not be to all tastes...In any case, it's a fine chance...to contemplate the very real synchronicity between Beckett's viewpoint and black humor." Full Review

80
Plays to See

"Under the direction of The Druid Theatre Company’s acclaimed director, Garry Hynes, this somewhat languid production with her very able Druid Ensemble does nothing unexpected yet everything is to the delight of the audience as she adheres to Beckett’s detailed instructions...In her otherwise sensitive rendition of 'Godot,' I found the pace and comic exchanges at times to be hindered when actors delivered lines out to the audience rather than to each other." Full Review

75
The New York Times

"Watching Garry Hynes’s highly stylized and very funny staging of this classic of modern literature, I found myself transported to Saturday mornings with Looney Tunes from my childhood...What you may find yourself missing is the deeply touching familiarity of Gogo and Didi’s relationship...Still, for theatergoers new to Beckett, I can’t imagine a better introduction than this lucid and entertaining cartoon of a show. That its comic exaggeration can feel a bit distancing may be for the best." Full Review

70
TheaterScene.net

"Ms. Hynes has the cast at full speed emphasizing slapstick and employing stylized poses and gestures...Movement director Nick Winston’s efforts are accomplished if overdone. The plethora of gags and set up punchline recitation gets laughs at the expense of emotional resonance...This 'Waiting for Godot' is overall pleasing without making much of an impact." Full Review

90
Chicago Sun-Times

for a previous production "When performed with the type of care and precision on stage in this exquisite production, the work still passes the time...The sublime cast of protean performers each reveal a range of skills, combining styles from the classical to the campy, the silly to the serious, the lyrical to the laid-back, all while maintaining a consistent reality...Hynes brings a good degree of patience to this show...She’s not afraid to let time feel slower for a bit before speeding it back up again." Full Review

85
The Scotsman

for a previous production "Rarely have Estragon’s sad reflections that they might be better off apart seemed more poignant, or Vladimir’s responses more like those of an affectionate but eccentric carer, making the best of things...With the rich physicality of Hynes’s production adding an extra layer of pure, simple clowning comedy to an immensely rich evening of theatre, this 'Waiting For Godot' affirms the play’s status as a spare and eloquent miracle of 20th-century art." Full Review

85
Chicago Reader

for a previous production "Watching the marvelous production...you might find yourself thinking how cluttered and limited most conventional plays can seem by comparison...For me, this time, the centerpiece of the play was the one we usually forget about: the pair of Pozzo interludes...Rory Nolan's Pozzo and Garrett Lombard's Lucky are indispensable to the success of these passages...Similarly, the physicality Marty Rea and Aaron Monaghan bring to Didi and Gogo might make a silent 'Godot' possible." Full Review

85
Chicago Tribune

for a previous production "The show is fun. As entertaining as any 'Godot' I’ve seen. A blast. Actual belly laughs. And I’m not talking invasive vaudevillian clowning, which has its place in the world but is a curse in this play, but deeper amusements based in human truth...This is a quartet of masterful performances — close to textually perfect, as far as I could tell, and you can’t mess around with Beckett...Hynes’ casting plays up the physical contrasts, as great comic duos have done for years." Full Review

85
DC Metro Theater Arts

for a previous production "Hynes, with her luminous cast...unearth a treasure-trove of comedy in this seminal piece. 'Godot' is not played for laughs; it is entertaining because of the emotional truth underlying the humor...The composition of all the visual elements: costume, lighting and scenic design is as appealing as a Rembrandt portrait...Beckett is the archetypal playwright of uncertainty. He is the ideal author for this perplexing era. What better time to hear those famous lines 'I can’t go on. I’ll go on.'" Full Review

85
DC Theatre Scene

for a previous production "The Galway company has tackled the equivalent of a theatrical Mount Everest, and they have done it with a kind of reverence paid to a master of twentieth-century’s drama...The production has the pedigree that makes it a show that all serious theatre-goers should see...The play can be very funny, and Monaghan and Rea work beautifully on stage together...Beckett’s poetry sings, and playing his music demands following the author-as-composer’s score. Druid has done just that." Full Review

85
Theatermania

for a previous production "A superb addition to the 'Godot' canon. Director Garry Hynes hasn't wasted a single word of the iconic play. In her steady hands, the bleak poetry of every line is apparent. Each silence is exactly measured. Hynes understands the fusion of comedy and tragedy in Beckett's work, and she has cast a quartet of actors who take to the challenging language like they were born to it." Full Review

80
The Independent (UK)

for a previous production "Hynes’s finely calibrated, often ferociously comic revival...puts both the pleasure and the pain into the endless waiting...Didi and Gogo’s endless waiting takes on extra poignancy in the light of contemporary political developments...Hynes finds both the psychic pain and the physical comedy in this situation...There are moments when the slapstick comedy is a little too broad, but there’s no argument that the evening’s desperate, jaunty despair is heartbreakingly entertaining." Full Review

80
Stage and Cinema

for a previous production "'Waiting for Godot' thrills us as it flattens boxcars of aspirations about dignity and destiny into music-hall merriment...Director Garry Hynes. Her take on the seminal anti-tragedy is richly orthodox, respecting the physical and gallows humor while never undercutting the pathos of a friendship that trembles on the edge of amnesia...The performances were nothing less than powerfully persuasive, enough so that a little despair goes too long a way." Full Review

70
The Washington Post

for a previous production "Every version seems more or less the same...Not to take anything away from the estimable, affectionate staging...but I wager that a revisit is essential only for those who’ve never had a 'Godot' experience...Hynes successfully steers her leading players to divergent and yet symbiotic characterizations...They do uphold those Beckett standards of yore, these two physically agile comic actors, engaged in existential stand-up." Full Review


99
Funny, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Great staging

See it if A flawless production of this modern classic. Brilliant!

Don't see it if You don't like the exploration of the esoteric nature of the human condition.

Also Although this show has already come and gone. I had to score it becaus... Read more Read less

94
Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Great staging

See it if Master class.

Don't see it if No reason.

94
Funny, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You never understood the show before. The Druid acting group gets it and shows the audience how to get it too.

Don't see it if It's a must see. They're not waiting for Godot. They like each other's company. And we do too.

90
Great acting, Masterful, Riveting, Great writing

See it if How Beckett was meant to be done with specificity and stakes. The right balance between physical comedy and acting.

Don't see it if If you don’t like Beckett, I don’t think this will change your mind.

90
Funny, Great acting, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You want some Beckett without the spoonful of medicine. Funny without trivializing the weighty issues

Don't see it if You like your Godot with celebrity actors. This is more in line with original intent than Sir Pat Stew & co’s comedy

89
Great acting, Masterful, Profound, Resonant, Great writing

See it if you haven't, you want to see good performances, you can take a dark show.

Don't see it if you don't want a humorous interpretation, you need plot, you are looking for a musical.

88
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if Beckett's classic performed by wonderful Irish actors from the Druid Theatre Company . The actors exhibit great dexterity and humor.

Don't see it if You are not a fan of Beckett's work. Even if you dislike this specific play, it is so well done and different from recent NYC productions.

87
Great acting, Masterful, Slow, Great staging, Masterpiece

See it if you want the quintessential, standard-bearing Waiting for Godot experience—especially if you’re bringing a new initiate. It’s the real deal.

Don't see it if No movie stars in this one. Real deal.

Also I saw this production on an earlier leg of its tour, not in NYC. I wou... Read more Read less

86
Thought-provoking, Masterful, Profound, Indulgent, Slow

See it if You're a fan of WfG and want to see a beautiful stylized setting of it with its original accent/diction

Don't see it if You don't like plays that make you examine your existence of if you need frequent action/plot movement

Also Like other reviewers have mentioned, Act I and Act II are vastly diffe... Read more Read less

86
Intense, Thought-provoking, Profound, Relevant, Indulgent

See it if fan of Beckett, to hear it in Beckett's Irish, encounter a new staging, feel the frustration & boredom of the characters, confront darkness

Don't see it if not a Beckett fan, expect a plot & conventional characters, want action more than talk, want realistic setting, no patience for the unusual

85
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Profound, Great writing, Great staging

See it if Hynes' stylish (& highly stylized) staging of 20th century classic accentuates comedic over stoic Impeccible performances from ensemble

Don't see it if Thankfully, due mostly to actors' craft the existential pathos of the melodrama is allowed to breathe amid all the physical highjinks

85
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Profound, Slow, Hilarious

See it if you like Absurdist plays. If you like plays that challenge you to find your own interpretation and meaning of the acts presented.

Don't see it if you aren’t fond of or haven’t in your life experience the theatre of the Absurd. It’s a challenging task to sit thru without an open mind

Also You must have an experience or at least an open mind to the world of t... Read more Read less

84
Thought-provoking, Uneven, Brilliantly written, Handsome, Too much shtick

See it if you would like to see a better-than-decent account of the play that revolutionized post-World War II drama on both sides of the Atlantic.

Don't see it if you have no tolerance for performances that milk every bit of dramatic business for every lingering guffaw that might be found.

Also I am glad I saw this production of a revolutionary theater classic of ... Read more Read less

80
Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if want a new and and very funny take on an existential classic, wonderful Irish actors (a Druid production), slapstick humor

Don't see it if want a more natural relationship between Gogo & Didi, one less slapstick; don't like long plays (first act especially long)

Also I personally preferred the McKellen-Stewart version. I found that it w... Read more Read less

80
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great writing

See it if you are a fan of Beckett or of this play. A really good production, and I have seen a few.

Don't see it if you like straightforward, linear narrative.

80
Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Masterful, Great writing

See it if you love theater. It is a classic and a wonderfully insightful production with splendid acting. The first act is slow but come back

Don't see it if you have little tolerance for the frustration so central to the theater of the absurd and the existential sense of impotence in the world

79
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Confusing, Entertaining

See it if you want to see some engaging Irish actors do a fresh take on a play you probably won't understand even if it's your fourth or fifth time!

Don't see it if you hate this play or Beckett in general so much that you don't even want to give it another try.

75
Great acting, Slow, Great staging

See it if You want to see a really all-around great production of Waiting for Godot.

Don't see it if You're looking to be entertained.

Also Look, I've read the play multiple times, studied it at length, and can... Read more Read less

69
Funny, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if A respectful, unsurprising version of Godot - which is no small accomplishment. Favorite performance: Aaron Monaghan, as Estragon.

Don't see it if Act I, the direction far too dull for me. Then Act II was delightful, thought-provoking, heart-breaking. Odd.

60
Indulgent, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You like hearing the words repeated with intelligence. Like visiting an old friend.

Don't see it if you're expected some kind of revelation. There's no relationship between the characters. Form without content. "Clever" line readings only.

56
Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You've never seen the play before, and want to know what all the fuss is about, or why it's required reading for so many college students.

Don't see it if You go to the theater more for plot, grand theatrics and/or fun than for profundity.

Also Along with about three dozen people, I fled at intermission. I am seei... Read more Read less

45
Funny, Pointless, Indulgent, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You want to see a frustrating and ultimately pointless version of Godot; you like actors with no chemistry & a director who doesn't get it

Don't see it if You want a great production of Godot; you hate slapstick; you want actors with chemistry; you have to pay for a ticket

Also The positives for every show on this site have made me start to questi... Read more Read less

91
Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Entertaining

See it if You want to see how this classic script is supposed to be done, with its layers of comedy and pathos well served.

Don't see it if You "go to the theater to be entertained," meaning mindlessly unchallenged. That's why there's "Alladin."

99
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Resonant

See it if You love Beckett, Irish theater, or are ready to dive into the masterpiece of absurdism; if you love the music of language & physical comedy

Don't see it if You're interested in linear narratives or easy endings.

98
During previews
Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Profound, Great staging

See it if Exquisite! If the word “beautiful” can be used to describe a production of Beckett’s masterpiece, that it is. Like a requiem mass.

Don't see it if You are not ready to be absorbed in an abstract but truthful portrait of the modern dilemma- to believe or not while we wait - and for what?


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Cast & Creatives (11)