Roughs (4 stars)

This article is from 2013


Beckett, roughly speaking by D'Animate

This is a Samuel Beckett production like no other, and completely apposite for our troubled nation. These two rarely performed pieces (Rough for Theatre I and II, performed back-to-back) are re-imagined by D'Animate who wrong-foot us at every turn. In the first half, there is the characteristic poverty, disability and sparse poetry of Beckett in Michael Rivers' blind beggar, scraping atonally away on the violin, goaded by Adam El Hagar's wheelchair-bound cynic, but then a tender, muscular choreography between the two draws out Beckett’s warmth, which is often overlooked.

If the former is economical in its language, Roughs II is positively verbose, with two suited and booted corporate men, whose job is unclear, bickering in a cramped office space. They have a prop in the form of an unnamed suicidal man teetering on a window ledge beside them, and a bird cage. Rivers' rambling polemic is constantly interrupted by light, sound, or the other man's nonplussed interjections, and an uneasy double act emerges.

D'Animate's fresh approach to theatre proves that Beckett can still startle and captivate – and with the controversial bedroom tax looming large, his dark political motifs sadly remain pertinent.Roughs is no easy ride, yet utterly humane.

Zoo Southside, 662 6892, until 26 Aug, £9(£7)


  • 4 stars

After their successful debut with Bitesize Chekhov, d’Animate are back with Roughs. Two Samuel Beckett plays, Rough for Theatre I and II, to be performed as a one-hour show, joined together by a piece of devised theatre. In Rough for Theatre I we see the rise and fall of a gripping alliance between a cripple and a blind…