London schoolchildren have had permission to perform Waiting for Godot at the Edinburgh Fringe withdrawn at the last moment - but are still going ahead with a new piece taking its cues from the legendary play.
However, it remains to be seen whether the Beckett Estate - who took away the original licence - will step in again before the planned performances of Still Waiting for Godot to protect the legacy of Samuel Beckett, who was notoriously exacting over how his plays were staged.
In the past the estate has threatened an injunction over seemingly minor changes in a version of Footfalls starring Fiona Shaw, and tried to stop an Italian production of Waiting for Godot in 2006 which had female actors in the two main roles.
Pupils of the City of London School, nod/nod first performed a version of Waiting for Godot last term, which was staged in their school toilets.
Buoyed by its success the group then arranged to take their production to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, with nod/nod set to appear in front of a limited audience at St James Public Toilets in the St James Centre. A licence was sought and granted from the Beckett Estate.
However, after unexpected flurry of publicity in the national press their licence was withdrawn only a matter of weeks before the planned performances.
Finding themselves £800 in the red and still wanting to put on a show at the Fringe, a new version of Beckett’s classic has been written by 17-year old-director Harry Michell entitled Still Waiting for Godot.
It has been described as “in part homage to the original and in part a boisterous response to the Beckett Estate’s heavy-handed approach”.
Providing that there’s no challenge by the Beckett Estate, Still Waiting for Godot will take place from August 25 to 31 at 6.30pm, with 15 tickets at £5 available from the Fringe Box Office for each 50-minute performance.