Nothing Happens (Twice)
Mercè Ribot and Patricia Rodriguez with dramaturg Adam Brace
The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth
Ursula Martinez takes the reins as Spanish theatre company Little Soldier comes out of COVID-induced making ends meet to stage its ultimate ambition Waiting For Godot—or at least it would if the Beckett estate wasn’t so blooming restrictive.
In a rather long hour, the personable Mercè Ribot and Patricia Rodriguez meld slapstick, whimsy, humour and video taking their audience on a winding path from drama school to Beckett.
The piece is a collaboration between Ribot and Rodriguez and creative team director Martinez, dramaturg Adam Brace, designer Verity Quinn, videographer Mark Morreau and composer John Biddle.
There are some highs—Don Quixote success and trying to get pregnant ‘a lot’—and many lows—racial type-casting as Mexican hooker, Columbian escort, Spanish receptionist—but none so low as the first Stratford gig (that is Stratford shopping centre) dressed as flamingos promoting Andalusia. Six times a day. And neither have ever even been there let alone seen the Iberian lynx or Royal Owl or gone to the music fiesta.
Worn out from twerking and rapping their way through the tourist hype, the effervescent duo will not take no for an answer and, after a humorous battle of the e-mails, devise a devious route to their dream performance.
And yep, they know their WFG inside out as thoroughly tested during an ‘interval’ complete with glasses of Shloer.
There’s clever lip-synching and talking through their hats, slapstick, an ever diminishing carrot and plenty of Beckett and WFG moments—rope and bowler hats included—wound into a fast track of their dramatic lives to date.
The jury is out. Some laughs, some very clever stuff but it drags. But then so does Waiting For Godot.
Reviewer: Karen Bussell