For all that playwright Samuel Beckett is known for, his refusal to allow females to play male roles in his plays is the most baffling. In 1988, Samuel Beckett sued a Dutch theatre company for casting women in his drama Waiting for Godot. And even when the playwright died, his estate carried on with the rule regarding female portrayals of his famous male characters. Now Silent Faces Theatre Company presents Godot is a Womanin which a group of female and non-binary performers again challenge the Beckett estate’s ruling. 

The show opens with three gloomy-looking clowns clad in bowler hats (Cordelia StevensonJack Wakely, and Josie Underwood). The threesome is waiting for the Beckett estate to answer their call about the right to perform Godot. They wait. And wait. Then wait some more. When an automated message tells them that they have moved up in the queue, it sends them into a dance that transforms the action into something completely different. It turns out this isn’t a Beckett pastiche but a gloriously funny and feminist song and dance show that has the audience delighted. 

With a banging soundtrack of female artists and a text that covers everything from #MeToo to what it means to perform the play if you feel neither man nor woman, Godot is a Woman is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. There are great in-jokes related to the Beckett text that may go over the heads of those not familiar with his work. A mock trial is a highlight of the piece and, in my view, could have lasted longer. Not every Beckett fan will appreciate their hero being picked apart in such a way, but the play is here to show that 70 years have passed, and non-male performers are tired of waiting for… Waiting for Godot