Krapp’s Last Tape at the Duchess Theatre – Round-up of reviews
Michael Colgan’s production of Samuel Beckett’s 1958 play, first seen at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, is a critical hit. After Michael Gambon was forced to pull out of the National’s The Habit of Art last year due to illness, the critics hailed his return to the stage and his extraordinary performance as nothing short of a triumph.
Read extracts from Krapp’s Last Tape reviews below, including The Times, The Telegraph, The Stage and The Guardian.
"What is so moving about both play and performance is the tenderness that lurks among the harsh humour and terrible loneliness. As he listens again to his account of that last meeting with his lover, Gambon cradles the tape recorder in his arms, as if it were the body of his long-lost lover. It is an unforgettable image that perfectly echoes the ache of loss in Beckett’s spare, resonant language and sends shivers racing down the spine."
"The first 20 minutes of Samuel Beckett's merciless, miniature masterpiece is almost complete silence, but there is no lack of eloquence in the performance of Michael Gambon, returning to the London stage for the first time since forced by ill health to withdraw from rehearsals for The Habit of Art. His familiar features like an eroding landscape, Gambon may now be in fine fettle, as he demonstrates in Michael Colgan's artfully pitched production - but the 69-year-old Krapp clearly is not."
"By the end, you can hardly bear to look at the shrunken husk who seems to be staring into a fathomless abyss of desolation as the tape runs on and we hear the 39-nine-year-old Krapp take refuge in an excruciatingly inaccurate career-forecast: "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." A piercing performance."
"Michael Gambon takes full ownership of the stage in Beckett’s fierce, shuffling monologue, as much made up of words as it is of gestures that include the painstaking eating of not one but two bananas... it is a theatrical highlight of this year to have him back playing a man planning his final exit."