The Bikeshed Theatre is currently hosting Winter Warmed, a three-week festival celebrating the works of Samuel Beckett through the talents of local and regional theatre-makers. The centre-piece of the festival is a production of Endgame, one of Beckett’s best known plays, but also included are an array of other works by Beckett and other playwrights inspired by him.
Endgame is a powerful exploration of human loneliness and despair. The Bikeshed production runs the entire play in one act, without interval, so after 105 minutes an audience member can feel just as tired and isolated as the characters. This is a deliberate choice, and it is a cathartic and potent experience, but perhaps not ideal for those who are easily bored.
If you aren’t a hardcore Beckett fan, there are several lighter adaptations and interpretations on show throughout the month. Waiting for Waiting for Godot, performed on February 2nd, was a hilarious and, at times, touching pastiche of Beckett’s masterpiece. It was full of allusions to the original for more familiar audience members, but very accessible for those who haven’t encountered Beckett before. There is no second performance, but there are several other adapted works being put on which promise to be of equally good quality.
However if these aren’t convincing enough reasons to book, there are several interpretative productions on that have been written, directed and are being performed by students. Don’t Ask For Silverware is a piece written and acted by George Bradley, an interesting and often absurd short play about a man who can’t stand up after falling over, speculates about the gassy qualities of lemonade, and is visited sporadically by a man with a trumpet. Another monologue, this time written and performed by Gareth Morgan, and ironically titled As Yet, Untitled, is a clever deconstruction of the entire premise of the theatre, and drama aficionados will enjoy listening for all the classic plays name-dropped throughout. Finally, Coated With Love, by Camilla Borges and Ellie Luxton, is a ridiculously absurd comedy about love-struck overcoats; suffice to say, it is near impossible not to laugh when confronted with a talking bin, a depressed raincoat, and Yoda.
All the performances, particularly the student-run pieces, are highly recommended for both Beckett veterans and the uninitiated, and all are at very affordable prices!
There is also a theatre and playwriting workshop running on Wed 13th Feb with writer and film maker Peter Hulton. Find out more and book your free place here.
The festival runs every evening until February 16th, full timetable can be found here.
Don’t Ask For Silverware – 11th Feb.
As Yet, Untitled – 12th Feb.
Coated With Love – 16th Feb.
Endgame – 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th Feb.
Written for Razz by Dan Squire.