A word on my mindset heading into this gorgeous theater: For the first time in London, I had gotten lost. After a lovely lunch by the river, I got off at the right tube stop, but it all went down hill from there. I was literally sprinting across Trafalgar Square, white skirt blowing in the wind behind me.
But thank goodness I made it. This production of Waiting for Godot was beautiful on every level. The Theatre Royal Haymarket's red and golden interior is exactly what fills the imagination when thinking of upper-class Britons going to the theatre in tuxedos and gowns. No gowns tonight, but a stunning interior nonetheless.
The scenery, appropriately barren save for a lone tree, was austerely gorgeous. Shades of gray created a feeling of age and decay, complemented by lighting that seemed to be a character in itself, changing from beautiful patterns on the floor to delicate and deliberate streams of light coming from some heaven above the scene.
The acting in this show was superb across the board, but tonight Sir Ian McKellen created one of my favorite performances that I have ever seen on stage. Every twitch and sound was smart and, for almost any given moment, hilarious. His appearance and voice were that of an elderly homeless man, but his choices were that of a large four year old child. It would be difficult not to love him. It would be even more difficult not to love the relationship between him and Patrick Stewart, who was also hilarious in his reactions to McKellen. Their friendship was tangible and touching.
Waiting for Godot is a tribute to relationships, and these two men were perfect as old friends: dancing, talking, fighting, sharing meals, and passing the time simply being together.