Or Barbican? It’s like Tate Modern (or Tate) vs The Tate (Modern). It’s probably grammatically correct to abandon the definite article but it sounds pompous. So I’ll stick with The Barbican, as I stick with The Tate: I’m going to The Tate. What, you’re going to Tate? No – I’m going to The Tate.
And I could continue, in a Beckettian-style over-analysation of what is, really, the least important aspect of the title of the post, but I won’t – because what is of more importance is the fact that I went to see a very good stage adaptation of Beckett’s novel Watt (on Saturday, at The Barbican).
Barry McGovern, of Gate Theatre Dublin (‘The’ Gate Theatre….?) plays Watt, the central character who walks from a train station to the house of Mr Knott – for whom he will be working as a house servant – finding himself continuously preoccupied by seemingly mundane happenings.
McGovern’s telling of this simple, absurd story – narrated by a funny, self-doubting, un-trusting Watt, was brilliant. As usual, with Beckett’s plays, the set was basic and the only props were a coat stand and one chair.
We were sat on on the front row, right in the middle – so close that I could see white spit gather at the corners of McGovern’s lips, as his mouth became dry after 30 minutes of non-stop speaking (interestingly, it disappeared soon after and didn’t return – trick of the trade?)
Beckett’s astute observations, insertion of scatological references and sophisticated use of language make his work comical and absorbing. Both this performance, and the last I went to see (Fragments, at the Young Vic) have actually made me ‘lol’.
But the success is also down to McGovern’s super acting skills, thoughtful adaptation and perfect story-telling Irish accent.
I give it 5 stars.