Theatre heavyweight Michael Gambon plays Hamm, the blind man who bullies his incompetent servant Clov, played by popular stand-up comic Lee Evans. In a play generally regarded as one of Beckett’s best, Hamm and Clov are trapped in a strange room, while Hamm’s parents Nagg (Geoffrey Hutchings) and Nell (Liz Smith) are living in a pair of dustbins. Coincidentally, the show opens as — a few doors down the road — Michael Hastings’s play Calico is running, about the relationship between Beckett and the daughter of another famous writer, James Joyce.
Two-time Tony nominee (for 1998’s Art and 2000’s True West) Matthew Warchus directs, reuniting with Gambon whom he directed in an acclaimed 1995 National Theatre production of Volpone and in 1998’s The Unexpected Man. Evans makes his West End play debut in this production (he brought his one-man comedy show for a sell-out run to the Lyric in 1996, then again to the Apollo in 1998), but will be back in November 2004 to star in The Producers opposite Richard Dreyfuss.
Smith, on the other hand, is a stage veteran, whose distinguished history includes being a member of Charles Marowitz’s famous acting company. Recent years have seen her find new popularity in the TV comedy series “The Royle Family." Hutchings was last seen on the London stage playing Ballested in Trevor Nunn’s production of Ibsen’s The Lady From the Sea at the Almeida Theatre.
The producer is Sonia Friedman, with Rob Howell designing, Mark Henderson on lighting and sound by Paul Groothuis.