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Fragments at the Young Vic

Elizabeth Peasley

This is classic and superlatively acted Beckett. Marcello Magni, Khalifa Natour and Kathryn Hunter individually and as an ensemble are the consummate actors for these Beckett characters.

Fragments at the Young Vic
L-R Marcello Magni, Kathryn Hunter, and Khalifa Natour in 'Come and go'. Photo: Alastair Muir

They are all three faultless in their portrayal of the of the human condition; of the vulnerable, of the puzzled and confused, of the exhilarated, the overcome, the resigned, and the reality of the everyday being a nourishing and sustaining universal truth.

As one would expect, the staging of all the pieces is minimal; props which appear are inventive- a giant pencil descending from the sky to prod the two enormous white bags into action in 'Act Without Words'. The contrast of these two enlivened parcels holds individual messages for each of us in the audience; there are a range of emotions and yes comedy is a powerful wrapping for some of these.

Interestingly, the audience would be laughing at what I considered to be achingly poignant moments in Rough for Theatre 1 where the two characters, a blind man and a one legged man interact in mutual stages of trust/distrust . Also in 'Rockaby' where a woman repetitively reminisces and rocks herself in a chair. I think this may characterise changing audience responses across the years and cultures. There is humour to be found in these pieces but not always on the surface.

The final Fragment 'Come and Go' is a source of much joy and laughter. The three characters Pru, Vi and Flo interact like fingers of the same glove. The brilliant portrayal of these three well hatted women gives us the dialogue that darts to the heart and remains there. "What do you think of Vi? I see little change ……'' May we not speak of the old days and what came after?

This production is a must if you want to reflect on life and see a brilliant portrayal of one of the best playwrights of the twentieth century directed by one of theatre's legends. Beckett directed by Brook.

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