Krapp's Last Tape

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Previewed 15 September 2010, Opened 22 September 2010, Closed on 20 November 2010 at the Duchess Theatre in London

A major revival of Samuel Beckett's monologue play Krapp's Last Tape in London starring Michael Gambon

"Perhaps my best years are gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn't want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn't want them back..." Every year on his birthday Krapp sits down to record his memories from the past year. On his 69th birthday listening to his old recordings Krapp stumbles upon a single tender memory from long ago. Recalling his past loves, disappointments and fascinations Krapp starts to question whether his present lives up to his past.

This cast of Krapp's Last Tape in London stars Michael Gambon and is directed by Michael Colgan. This prodcution transfers to London'S West End following a critically acclaimed and strictly limited season of 19 performances at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. Michael Gambon's previous West End credits in Samuel Beckett play's include Eh Joe at the Duke of York's Theatre in June 2006 and Endgame at the Noel Coward Theatre in March 2004.

"Sir Michael Gambon's face has been described as a collapsed paper bag, which is pretty much the case. It's undoubtedly one the most eloquently expressive faces in the business. In Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, it gets a terrific workout... These are 50 spellbinding minutes that capture the experience of an entire life. A matchless performance of a miniature masterpiece." The Mail on Sunday

"It seems, on the face of it, a rather effortless way for the 69-year-old Sir Michael Gambon to return to the stage after ill-health forced him to pull out of The Habit of Art at the National last year. The country's greatest living actor is on for barely an hour, and at least a quarter of that goes by before he has to utter a word... I don't say that this is the easiest piece of theatre to sit through, but there is such a mournful intensity about Sir Michael's Krapp - such a sense of regret in those big, doleful eyes of his, such an air of resignation in his demeanour and such a maturity and pathos to his performance - that I can't fault it." The Sunday Telegraph

Here is a chance to see Michael Gambon in the acclaimed version of Beckett's fractured monologue produced by the Gate Theatre, Dublin. He plays Krapp, an ageing writer inhabiting a solitary den, his sales somewhat down of late... He speaks with a pronounced Irish accent, this relative of Molloy and Malone and all those other Irish tramps and derelicts with their desperate laughter. However, there is little laughter here. Krapp's shuffling about the stage and changing of the spools is challengingly slow, and the occasional nuggets of lyricism seem rarer than ever." The Sunday Times

Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape received its world premiere in October 1958 at the Royal Court Theatre in London, starring the Irish actor Patrick Magee. Although Krapp's Last Tape was last seen in London's West End in October 2006 when it played a strictly limited season of just 10 performances at The Royal Court Theatre Upstairs starring Harold Pinter (as part of the theatre's 50th birthday celebrations), the last major West End revival was in 2000 at The Ambassadors Theatre starring John Hurt in a production which run for seven weeks and which was presented by The Gate Theatre Dublin.

Krapp's Last Tape in London at the Duchess Theatre previewed from 15 September 2010, opened on 22 September 2010 and closed on 20 November 2010.

Krapp's Last Tape - 2000 John Hurt

Previewed 25 January 2000, Opened 27 January 2000, Closed 11 March 2000 at the Ambassadors Theatre in London

Robin Lefevre's revival of Samuel Beckett's one-man play Krapp's Last Tape starring John Hurt

John Hurt was last seen on the London stage in Krapp's Last Tape in a production presented by the Gate Theatre Dublin for 6 sell-out performances at the Barbican Pit Theatre between 3 to 12 September 1999 as part of the Barican International Theatre Event (BITE). Due to public demand, this production now returns to London for a seven week season.

Directed by Robin Lefevre with designs by Giles Cadle and lighting by James McConnell.

"The poetic concentration - the play runs for just 45 minutes - is intense, and John Hurt's wonderful voice, which sounds like hony spread with a serrated knife, makes a minimal text sound too little. This performance, already famous, has been seen at the Gate in Dublin and at the Barbican, and now plays the West End for a few weeks, sometimes twice-nightly. Hurt is nowhere near as ramshackle and dilapidated as most Krapps, and certainly not as extravagantly funny as was the great Max Wall long ago. But he has a handsome, haunted, haggard look about him. Good heavens, he even looks like fun-loving old Beckett himself with greying, cockatoo hairstyle, piercing button eyes and aquiline, dignified demeanour... When Hurt fondles the old machine while his rhapsodic voice recounts young love, we are as moved as the couple lay unmoved, and under them, all moved." The Daily Mail

"John Hurt obscenely sucks a banana with an air of such stark disappointment in Krapps Last Tape that you feel he must belong in some tawdry rainswept zoo. This Gate Theatre production from Dublin of Beckett's great 1959 monologue now gets the proper West End outing it deserves. Hurt even looks a bit like Beckett, eyes permanently squinting at his only onstage companion - a tape recorder - from which emanates his own unmistakable, craggy voice. The constipated Krapp, addicted to bananas and alcohol, is desperate for 'laxation'. Worse, he's actually facing death as he spools through his recorded diary of a futile youth. It's a fine performance, gruff, growly and aching with resignation and regret. As for the play - it's a bleakly masochistic experience but somehow bracing. As that other great miserablist Harold Pinter said of Beekett: 'the more he grinds my nose in the s***, the more I am grateful to him.' I feel the same way." The Daily Express

"The brilliance of Hurt's performance lies in his ability to warm the cadences of Beckett's semi-autobiographical monologue, moving through rage, optimism and self-disgust to a species of despondent self-acceptance. At the start Krapp appears like a grubby clown privately toying with his beloved, constipating bananas and amusing himself by pacing about in squeaking boots. But before, during and after this, Hurt works the long brooding silences of Beckett's spartan text, staring into the void as he sounds out both himself and his invisible audience. In Robin Lefevre's sensitively controlled production, Giles Cadle's set eschews the familiar comfort of domestic jumble that might have coloured Krapp's ascetic lair. Instead he is encountered in a sea of darkness simulating his reclusive withdrawal from the world. This focuses sharply not only on Hurt's performance but also on Beckett's fragmented imagery." The London Evening Standard

Krapp's Last Tape in London at the Ambassadors Theatre previewed from 25 January 2000, opened on 27 January 2000 and closed on 11 March 2000