ON BECKETT

Critics

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Reviews: 17

Audience

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Reviews: 0

Tony Award®-winning actor Bill Irwin combines his renowned skills as a master clown and dramatic actor to explore a performer’s relationship to the works of Samuel Beckett, including Waiting for GodotTexts for Nothing, and more.

Reviews

Avatar

The last thing I want to listen to is a pretentious intellectual tell me how to interpret Samuel Beckett for 90 minutes. Irwin makes it clear that that's not what this is. You see, Bill Irwin can't seem to get Samuel Beckett out of his head. 'On Beckett' is the result.

sweet - Kelsey Goeres - The SoCal Review - ...read full review


Avatar

In the mouth, and mind, of a gifted actor - Beckett’s words open up the varied terrain of the mind. There are switchbacks and gulleys and momentary vistas - and doubt, so much doubt.

Mr. Irwin captures all of this and more. And then, with a generous spirit, he returns to his world, our world, and tells us how and more importantly ...why Beckett matters...

While the evening is called “On Beckett,” you’ll walk out of theater feeling like you know Bill Irwin. You’ll see, in snippets, Samuel Beckett through Irwin’s eyes and you’ll marvel at how this clown reveals entire worlds so quickly with such generous precision.

sweet - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW - ...read full review


Avatar

Enamored though he clearly is with his material, Irwin also knows Beckett is knotty, and he's doing his utmost to deliver it in manageable servings. When we get to Godot, the ground feels especially safe and, in this instance, silent...

Irwin is a Broadway veteran, but he was born in Santa Monica, less than 20 miles from the Kirk Douglas Theatre. And with his clowning regalia in fine form and the words of a revered playwright at his disposal, Bill Irwin is every bit at home.

sweet - Evan Henerson - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Avatar

For ninety minutes, we get to sit with a master craftsman and hear how he has worked with another master craftsman. If that isn’t beautiful, nothing is.

sweet - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Jordan Young

Rather than analyze it in the manner of a college professor, the MacArthur-Guggenheim-Fulbright-NEA recipient dissects the writing in a way that makes it as accessible to a mass audience as it’s ever going to get.

sweet - Jordan Young - JordanRYoung - ...read full review


Avatar

If you share a reverence for the author of Endgame, Krapp’s Last Tape, Waiting for Godot, and Murphy this could be an enlightening evening in the theater.
If, however, you’re unacquainted with the works of Beckett or the immense influence he exerted on the theatre of today, you might want to give some consideration to attending this production. You probably couldn’t ask for a better introduction to the artist or his art than that offered by Irwin.

sweet - Ernest Kearney- The TVolution - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer

His background as a physical performer also gives him a unique understanding of the visual components of Beckett’s art. He convincingly demonstrates the importance of the silhouette in Godot -- the slant of the body and the essential bowler hat. He also offers a hilariously compelling argument against that inevitable iconoclastic director who will insist on making Beckett “relevant” by putting the characters in baseball caps.

sweet - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Avatar

Irwin’s exceptional skills, physical and verbal, are as sharp as ever. But lecturing or verbally explaining his feelings to us in a slightly overextended lecture/performance puts us on a diet that yearns for more of his physical genius. We love that part of him too much to not miss it. It is the thing we crave, and even envy, since we all have brains and bodies that we wish we could manipulate to do all of the aspirational things that Irwin does with his.

If only…

A savvy friend referred to On Beckett as a master class on acting. It is absolutely that and more. But greed wouldn’t pay. A little of Bill Irwin is a whole lot more than just about any feast anyone else could offer.

sweet - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

ON BECKETT goes to prove that it’s possible for a virtuoso to clown around with the works of a literary great – and come out on top. Besides, it seemed obvious that, had he still been around, Beckett would have soundly approved of Irwin’s approach to his iconic works. A chuckle and a shuffle have found their home in Irwin’s ON BECKETT.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

You don’t have to agree with Irwin to enjoy his labor-of-love solo show (which runs an hour and a half without an intermission).  He knows that he has to entertain as well as pontificate.  That’s when he unpacks the tools of his clowning trade—baggy pants, cane, floppy shoes, derby hats—and does some shticks that make us chuckle and laugh.  Irwin’s sweet comic persona and skill at slapstick match his well-thought-out, heartfelt beliefs about Beckett’s importance as a writer.  The combination of playfulness and passion is a winning one.

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

What Mr. Irwin has cleverly tapped into, I think, is the malleable nature of the language and through a lens of a clown is attempting to reconcile his own hopeful, haunted relationship with it. Watching an actor intellectualize and then embody language that he loves, that has shaped and informed him is truly, genuinely joyful to watch.

sweet - Patrick Hurley - That Awesome Theatre Blog - ...read full review


Avatar

In 89-minutes we not only learn of Beckett’s literary and dramatic contributions to the western canon (many of which Beckett wrote in French), we also delight in Irwin’s lighthearted abilities as an entertainer. Irwin, accomplished in the art of clowning, shows us the importance of the bowler hat in Godot and in clowning generally — recall Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp persona, bowler hat, big shoes and all. But inherent in Irwin’s On Beckett is Irwin’s exquisite interpretation of Beckett’s words.

sweet - Ben Miles - ShowMag - ...read full review


Avatar

Irwin does hats well.. His primer on the role of the bodily silhouette immediately shows how not only the text, the subtext and the other studious approaches to character are important, but that the profile: the physical attitude is vital.. as is the hat!  Genius is too tame a term to land in Bill Irwins's court.What comes next? We'll have to wait and see. This one is transcendent.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Avatar

“On Beckett” is a lesson in communication, as Irwin delivers and then discusses Beckett’s writing. Beckett’s communication is elliptical. Irwin’s is direct. Beckett doesn’t tell us what he means. Irwin helps us recognize possible meanings in Beckett’s works.

sweet - Dany Margolies - Daily News - ...read full review


Avatar

a better guide to playing Beckett would be hard to find. And when it comes to the clowning elements, a master class is in session. It’s astonishing the way Irwin can transform not only his own being but the few objects surrounding him by donning a pair of baggy pants. The trick, he explains, is all in his changing silhouette.

sweet - Charles McNulty - LA Times - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

While I find Beckett’s plays often too intensely intellectual for my comprehension, this was not the case with Irwin’s seemingly effortless way of donning a bowler hat (or 2 or 3), juggling them until the perfect one is atop his head, and then going on to flop around the stage in his baggy pants and oversize shoes as a quintessential clown while explaining his interpretation of passages reflecting “the noise of life” in Beckett’s “Text for Noting,” “Watt,” “Waiting for Godot,” “Endgame,” and “The Unnamable.” It was an extraordinary evening of watching a master of the stage interpret the life and brilliance of a theatre legend.

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

Bill Irwin's examination of the work of Samuel Beckett transforms repeatedly from his own intellectual but humanly vulnerable observations about the master’s writing to diving headfirst into passages from his work. He begins the journey with a bravely over-pronounced reading from "Texts for Nothing #1," questioning whether it was an exploration into the confusion and fragility inherent in the human condition or was instead simply chronicling the many voices and the conflicted thoughts that pour out of the mysterious chambers of our brains on a continuous basis.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review


Avatar

The last thing I want to listen to is a pretentious intellectual tell me how to interpret Samuel Beckett for 90 minutes. Irwin makes it clear that that's not what this is. You see, Bill Irwin can't seem to get Samuel Beckett out of his head. 'On Beckett' is the result.

sweet - Kelsey Goeres - The SoCal Review - ...read full review


Avatar

In the mouth, and mind, of a gifted actor - Beckett’s words open up the varied terrain of the mind. There are switchbacks and gulleys and momentary vistas - and doubt, so much doubt.

Mr. Irwin captures all of this and more. And then, with a generous spirit, he returns to his world, our world, and tells us how and more importantly ...why Beckett matters...

While the evening is called “On Beckett,” you’ll walk out of theater feeling like you know Bill Irwin. You’ll see, in snippets, Samuel Beckett through Irwin’s eyes and you’ll marvel at how this clown reveals entire worlds so quickly with such generous precision.

sweet - Anthony Byrnes - KCRW - ...read full review


Avatar

Enamored though he clearly is with his material, Irwin also knows Beckett is knotty, and he's doing his utmost to deliver it in manageable servings. When we get to Godot, the ground feels especially safe and, in this instance, silent...

Irwin is a Broadway veteran, but he was born in Santa Monica, less than 20 miles from the Kirk Douglas Theatre. And with his clowning regalia in fine form and the words of a revered playwright at his disposal, Bill Irwin is every bit at home.

sweet - Evan Henerson - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Avatar

For ninety minutes, we get to sit with a master craftsman and hear how he has worked with another master craftsman. If that isn’t beautiful, nothing is.

sweet - Christine Deitner - The Theatre Times - ...read full review


Jordan Young

Rather than analyze it in the manner of a college professor, the MacArthur-Guggenheim-Fulbright-NEA recipient dissects the writing in a way that makes it as accessible to a mass audience as it’s ever going to get.

sweet - Jordan Young - JordanRYoung - ...read full review


Avatar

If you share a reverence for the author of Endgame, Krapp’s Last Tape, Waiting for Godot, and Murphy this could be an enlightening evening in the theater.
If, however, you’re unacquainted with the works of Beckett or the immense influence he exerted on the theatre of today, you might want to give some consideration to attending this production. You probably couldn’t ask for a better introduction to the artist or his art than that offered by Irwin.

sweet - Ernest Kearney- The TVolution - ...read full review


Michael Van Duzer

His background as a physical performer also gives him a unique understanding of the visual components of Beckett’s art. He convincingly demonstrates the importance of the silhouette in Godot -- the slant of the body and the essential bowler hat. He also offers a hilariously compelling argument against that inevitable iconoclastic director who will insist on making Beckett “relevant” by putting the characters in baseball caps.

sweet - Michael Van Duzer - Show Mag - ...read full review


Avatar

Irwin’s exceptional skills, physical and verbal, are as sharp as ever. But lecturing or verbally explaining his feelings to us in a slightly overextended lecture/performance puts us on a diet that yearns for more of his physical genius. We love that part of him too much to not miss it. It is the thing we crave, and even envy, since we all have brains and bodies that we wish we could manipulate to do all of the aspirational things that Irwin does with his.

If only…

A savvy friend referred to On Beckett as a master class on acting. It is absolutely that and more. But greed wouldn’t pay. A little of Bill Irwin is a whole lot more than just about any feast anyone else could offer.

sweet - Sylvie Drake - Cultural Weekly - ...read full review


Avatar

ON BECKETT goes to prove that it’s possible for a virtuoso to clown around with the works of a literary great – and come out on top. Besides, it seemed obvious that, had he still been around, Beckett would have soundly approved of Irwin’s approach to his iconic works. A chuckle and a shuffle have found their home in Irwin’s ON BECKETT.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Avatar

You don’t have to agree with Irwin to enjoy his labor-of-love solo show (which runs an hour and a half without an intermission).  He knows that he has to entertain as well as pontificate.  That’s when he unpacks the tools of his clowning trade—baggy pants, cane, floppy shoes, derby hats—and does some shticks that make us chuckle and laugh.  Irwin’s sweet comic persona and skill at slapstick match his well-thought-out, heartfelt beliefs about Beckett’s importance as a writer.  The combination of playfulness and passion is a winning one.

sweet - Willard Manus - Total Theater - ...read full review


Avatar

What Mr. Irwin has cleverly tapped into, I think, is the malleable nature of the language and through a lens of a clown is attempting to reconcile his own hopeful, haunted relationship with it. Watching an actor intellectualize and then embody language that he loves, that has shaped and informed him is truly, genuinely joyful to watch.

sweet - Patrick Hurley - That Awesome Theatre Blog - ...read full review


Avatar

In 89-minutes we not only learn of Beckett’s literary and dramatic contributions to the western canon (many of which Beckett wrote in French), we also delight in Irwin’s lighthearted abilities as an entertainer. Irwin, accomplished in the art of clowning, shows us the importance of the bowler hat in Godot and in clowning generally — recall Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp persona, bowler hat, big shoes and all. But inherent in Irwin’s On Beckett is Irwin’s exquisite interpretation of Beckett’s words.

sweet - Ben Miles - ShowMag - ...read full review


Avatar

Irwin does hats well.. His primer on the role of the bodily silhouette immediately shows how not only the text, the subtext and the other studious approaches to character are important, but that the profile: the physical attitude is vital.. as is the hat!  Genius is too tame a term to land in Bill Irwins's court.What comes next? We'll have to wait and see. This one is transcendent.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Avatar

“On Beckett” is a lesson in communication, as Irwin delivers and then discusses Beckett’s writing. Beckett’s communication is elliptical. Irwin’s is direct. Beckett doesn’t tell us what he means. Irwin helps us recognize possible meanings in Beckett’s works.

sweet - Dany Margolies - Daily News - ...read full review


Avatar

a better guide to playing Beckett would be hard to find. And when it comes to the clowning elements, a master class is in session. It’s astonishing the way Irwin can transform not only his own being but the few objects surrounding him by donning a pair of baggy pants. The trick, he explains, is all in his changing silhouette.

sweet - Charles McNulty - LA Times - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

While I find Beckett’s plays often too intensely intellectual for my comprehension, this was not the case with Irwin’s seemingly effortless way of donning a bowler hat (or 2 or 3), juggling them until the perfect one is atop his head, and then going on to flop around the stage in his baggy pants and oversize shoes as a quintessential clown while explaining his interpretation of passages reflecting “the noise of life” in Beckett’s “Text for Noting,” “Watt,” “Waiting for Godot,” “Endgame,” and “The Unnamable.” It was an extraordinary evening of watching a master of the stage interpret the life and brilliance of a theatre legend.

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

Bill Irwin's examination of the work of Samuel Beckett transforms repeatedly from his own intellectual but humanly vulnerable observations about the master’s writing to diving headfirst into passages from his work. He begins the journey with a bravely over-pronounced reading from "Texts for Nothing #1," questioning whether it was an exploration into the confusion and fragility inherent in the human condition or was instead simply chronicling the many voices and the conflicted thoughts that pour out of the mysterious chambers of our brains on a continuous basis.

sweet - Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA - ...read full review