Review: Endgame

This review was originally written for VARSITY. The post can be found here.

You haven’t experienced true horror and ecstasy until you are greeted by a macabre setting analogous to Frankenstein’s laboratory, with a monster chillingly staring at you, rocking back and forth. I knew very little about Endgame, so being greeted by this sight truly captivated my focus and held it to the very (devastating) end.

Currently running at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, this radiant retelling of Samuel Beckett’s classic work has been extended until 1 September, following its overwhelmingly successful run. You can see it before the end of its run – it’s on every night at 7.30pm, Monday to Saturday.

Photo by Oscar O’Ryan, courtesy of the Baxter Theatre

Endgame gives its audience a glimpse into the bleak outlook on human existence, chronicling the story of the toxic co-dependency of characters Hamm and Clov, in a dark, absurd way. The story eloquently explores the complex relationships that exist both on stage, and in our everyday life. This post-apocalyptic world illustrates parallels between our own everyday lives, alluding to how our own world is already post-apocalypse. On a more personal level, the play unashamedly looks at the callous relationships people find themselves in and poses the question as to why people endure such relationships. Is it really by choice?

The production brings together the combined talent and theatrical expertise of some top local talent, featuring an all-star line-up of Andrew Buckland and Rob van Vuuren, supported by theatre greats Antoinette Kellerman and Soli Philander, and is directed by Sylvaine Strike. The simplicity of the set and costume design – the play unfolds in an unchanging underground bunker with no costume changes – adds to the incredible ability of Strike to create an immersive world through the pure talent of the actors, and the power of Beckett’s work.

Photo by Oscar O’Ryan, courtesy of the Baxter Theatre

This brilliant work, brought to life through the superior performances of Buckland and van Vuuren, leaves one contemplating the glory and misery of our very existence. It is both a heart-breaking and funny tale, ultimately illustrating how the splitting of people and ending of relationships can be both longed-for and dreaded.

The show is powerful. At times, it can be difficult to understand (but I don’t think it’s meant to be easy). It is impactful. Leaving the theatre, one is meant to be both confused and enlightened, contemplating one’s own existence, and drawing parallels between our personal lives, and that of the play.

I highly recommend you see it.