Krapp's Last Tape (4 stars)

Krapp's Last Tape

Beckett's one-act exploration of ageing and memory is a festival highlight

Beckett's one-man play features protagonist Krapp (here performed by Beckett expert Barry McGovern) at the age of 69, recording his annual birthday reel-to-reel tape and listening to a recording made 30 years before, which in turn references one made 12 years before that. As Krapp's memories come back, so do regrets.

Beckett's plays have maintained their iconic status thanks to the attitude of his estate, which insists on an austere interpretation that respects the intentions of the author. Consequently, the quality of each production depends not on a director's interpretation but the actor's ability to claim Beckett's script as his own.

Through his tapes and dusty ledger, Krapp relives his younger self's birthday ritual (eating bananas, their yellow peel bright against the black painted set) and lost love. The uncomfortable clatter of the metallic tape boxes thrown to the floor could easily be the echo of Krapp's stinging memories coming back to the surface.

McGovern's memorable performance revels in lingering moments of silence and his emotional interpretation easily fills the stage, successfully bringing Beckett's words to life. Funny and wistful, haunting and meditative, Krapp's Last Tape is without doubt one of the highlights of this year's International Festival.

Church Hill Theatre, until 27 Aug (not 22), 8pm (also 3pm 19 & 20, 24, 26 & 27), £25.

Krapp's Last Tape

  • 4 stars

Samuel Beckett’s moving meditation on time, memory and ageing is performed by renowned Irish actor Barry McGovern, one of the world’s most revered interpreters of the great playwright. This brand new production is directed by Michael Colgan, longtime Artistic Director of Dublin’s Gate Theatre. An old man sits alone at…

Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh

Thu 24 Aug

£25 / 0131 473 2000

Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

Fri 25 Aug

£25 / 0131 473 2000

Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

Sat 26 Aug

£25 / 0131 473 2000

Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

Sun 27 Aug

£25 / 0131 473 2000

Part of Edinburgh International Festival.

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