Richard Gadd: Waiting For Gaddot | Review by Steve Bennett
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Richard Gadd: Waiting For Gaddot

Note: This review is from 2015

Review by Steve Bennett

In another intense, high-concept white-knuckle ride, Richard Gadd takes the conventions of Fringe shows and bashes them around with the brutality of a street fighter.

It's one of those offerings where the less you're aware of in advance, the better the experience in the room, so excuse some of the vagueness that follows in this review. But know that it's a full-on mash-up of desperate, chaotic performance, unexpected twists and bold, hilarious, and often dark writing.

The audience are immersed in all this – not in any participatory way, you may be glad to hear – but very close to the unfolding drama, giving it an extra urgency that's heightened by the claustrophobia of this sweaty pub basement.

That live experience is enhanced by videos giving the back story to what's going on, including Gadd's difficult relationship with his junkie Dad, designed to provide that now-cliched emotional gravitas which award judges are supposed to love. There's a grindhouse sensibility to a couple of the more bleakly funny films, an atmosphere which spills over into the narrative of the rest of the hard-hitting hour.

Gadd's basic premise, which you may be able to guess from the title, is not entirely original – but it has never been carried out with such conviction and flair as here, with a story of torment, both internal and external emerging over the hour, with enough twists and turns to keep the audience guessing. The plotting is stretched out slightly, but not too much, but there's plenty of insane distractions en route.

Others contribute, notably an excellent Ben Target as Gadd's out-of-his depth techie, a couple of other circuit colleagues, and a rather well-known sitcom star showing great sport in being deliciously, deviantly filthy on video. It is they who make the show what it is.

Attacking banality with lashings of dark, unpredictable humour, Waiting For Gaddot will surely be the word-of-mouth hit of this festival. Get there before the queues are round the block.

Review date: 12 Aug 2015
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Banshee Labyrinth

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