Endgame is highly regarded as a modern masterpiece of absurd theatre. Written by Samuel Beckett, this dystopian play revolves around the central character of Hamm. Blind and confined to a wheelchair, Hamm relies Clov for assistance. Clov himself is unable to sit. Living with them are Hamm’s parents – Nag and Nell, each confined to their own rubbish bin.
Endgame is a one act play that considers the lives of these four characters who live in a desolate and seemingly hopeless and barren world. Whilst waiting for death to arrive, they contemplate the meaning to life in a meaningless world. Amongst the despair and gloom there are some surprising moments of joy and poignancy. Despite the dystopian and abstract setting of this absurd story, there are plenty of relatable moments of the human condition, the need for meaning and the desire for companionship.
Upon arrival into the Bakery at the 1812 Theatre, the audience is immediately greeted with a well-presented set (designed by Neil Barnett) with a grungy, dystopic feeling, with nothing to confirm the era or location.
Costumes by Molly Simons are excellent, with cleverly applied make up by Alyssa Dorba and Lauren Payet, making it very difficult to identify the person behind each character.
As Hamm, Matthew Ducza is outstanding. He remains a bold and unlikeable character and is virtually unrecognisable from any previous performances in the theatre company. In the role of Clov, Joshua Cook brings a surprising level of maturity to his portrayal. His accent and persona never drop for a moment and he, also, is unrecognisable from any previous performances.
Nicholas Cauchi is convincing as Hamm’s father Nag and Mackenzie Mazur brings a delicate and frail delivery of his wife Nell, although the audience needs to suspend their disbelief that this actor is much younger than the character she is portraying.
Experienced director Dexter Bourke has delivered a flawless production of Samuel Beckett’s work, demonstrating a perfect balance of dystopian despair amidst moments of poignant humanity. There’s just enough laughs to provide some light relief and the play moves at the right pace. The execution of each character is superbly handled by this young cast and confirms the importance of youth theatre within the community. The future of the 1812 Theatre looks very promising and Centrestage should be applauded for tackling a complex work with such a high level of skill.
While Endgame belongs to the genre of the absurd and purports the concept that the tragedy in life is that death doesn’t arrive quickly enough and human life is devoid of all purpose, this well executed production is surprisingly satisfying.
Endgame is playing at the 1812 Theatre until Saturday.