Waiting for Waiting for Godot (Huh. What’s That?) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

two women on cell phones, under a no loitering signThis will sound cliché, but this re-invented and modernized version of Waiting for Godot kept me, well, waiting for a lot more. The production company, Huh. What’s That?, is presenting Waiting for Waiting for Godot at the Al Green Theatre (750 Spadina Ave) as part of this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival lineup.

As one walks into the theatre, an actor is already sitting on stage with a bizarre and blank stare. At this moment, everything is mysterious and expectations rise. However, the intrigue is quickly over as we meet two stereotypical millennials/best friends/roommates glued to their phones as they wait in line for a production of Waiting for Godot (Yeah, Inception-style).

Now, I’ve heard a bit about the premise of the original text by Samuel Beckett. And I know that it is an absurdist play, but that is all I know about it. With that in mind, I am sure that some of the jokes and situations would be more understandable if I were better aquainted with the original play.

Representing stereotypical millennials, the two (not very likeable characters) had some good moments of light comedy through cultural references and over-the-top physical humour. Nevertheless, I thought some transitions, scenes and conversations felt pointless and not dynamic. The lack of consistency in the humour and style, made it difficult for me to engage with the play.

Perhaps the goal of this show was to keep the audience puzzled by an awkward ending, momentarily engaged by mentioning popular TV shows and laughing at similarities to Beckett’s play but it wasn’t my cup of tea. So, if your high school drama club put on a production of Waiting for Godot, chances are, you are going to enjoy this version. However, I think since I was more of a choir club student, my connection to this show was very limited.

Details

  • Waiting for Waiting for Godot will be playing at the Al Green Theatre (750 Spadina Ave)
  • Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance, and can be bought online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that late comers are never admitted.

Content WarningsWaiting for Waiting for Godot contains mature language.

Performances

  • Wednesday June 29th, 06:30 pm
  • Saturday July 2nd, 12:00 pm
  • Monday July 4th, 06:45 pm
  • Tuesday July 5th, 03:00 pm
  • Thursday July 7th, 09:15 pm
  • Friday July 8th, 02:15 pm
  • Sunday July 10th, 04:00 pm

Photo Credit: Photo provided by company.

5 thoughts on “Waiting for Waiting for Godot (Huh. What’s That?) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. “I am sure that some of the jokes and situations would be more understandable if I were better aquainted with the original play.”

    It might have been a better idea to send a reviewer who was actually familiar with this classic play, then. It’s not like it’s obscure.

    1. I agree with Chalina F. Though I don`t think it`s necessary to be completely familiar with reference to enjoy a work of art as a stand alone piece, to have someone basically state that they know nothing about theatre and then pretend to be a theatre critic, is disheartening indeed. Downright embarrassing in fact.

      1. Hey Yvette,

        I already addressed this, but I thought I’d just pop in again qucikly to say, we make a very strong point of trying to avoid theatre jargon and what I call (fondly) ‘theatre geekery’ despite the wide number of theatre degrees floating around our publication. Because when I started Mooney on Theatre it was to develop a publication for people who didn’t usually go to theatre. People who were not steeped in the theatre world. It was to show them that anyone could go, anyone could enjoy, the same way they do with movies and concerts. So it is important to me when I do my hiring that people have interesting ideas and can tell me about them, but that’s it. We are not academic-based critics. There are lots of those out there, it was never our mandate, and it never will be. We write experiential reviews and work hard to avoid theatre jargon and keep stuff in ‘plain language’ and try to avoid all the ‘inside baseball’ stuff that I have been told time and time again that people end up finding intimidating about theatre.

  2. Hey Chalina, thanks for taking the time to comment. I understand your perspective on this. There are certainly media outlets that take this approach.

    At MoT we take the approach that not all audience members will be familiar will be steeped in theatre history and theatre culture, and we encourage our writers to write from a perspective as though they were not. So, in fact, even if Fernanda was intimately familiar with Waiting for Godot, I would have hoped that she would bring up the fact that someone might need to be familiar with it in order to connect with this piece.

    It is important for our readers to know what they are getting into.

    There is room for many different types of voices about theatre. I started MoT specifically to provide an experiencial voice, rather than an academic-based critic voice. Something that talks about the opinion of one person, and how they felt, regardless of their experience with theatre.

    It’s fine if people don’t connect with that type of writing, there are other media outlets to provide the academic-based critic voice.

    Cheers,
    Megan

    Megan Mooney
    Founder
    Mooney on Theatre

  3. I completely agree with your review. I laughed maybe twice throughout the whole play. A lot of the jokes just didn’t land and the transitions didn’t flow at all. I guess I see why some people liked it but it wasn’t my brand of humor whatsoever.

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