EIF 2017: Krapp's Last Tape, Church Hill Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Clare Street
Michael Colgan (director) James McConnell (lighting designer)
Barry McGovern (Krapp)
Running time

With the exception of ‘Waiting for Godot’, ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ is probably Samuel Beckett’s best-known play, if only by name. It is, as most of his dramatic work is, a gift for the intelligent interpreter. Barry McGovern remains amongst the foremost actors to work on Beckett, and he most certainly does not disappoint here.

Working with Michael Colgan as director, this production manages to freshly mint Beckett’s text and give us fresh insight into its subtler moments. This is in part achieved by a stripped back setting that nevertheless conveys the bleakness of Krapp’s existence and sense of inner crisis. Cabined and confined at last to a shrunken space with little more than his tape recordings and memories, we slowly discover the Krapp that is and was.

The name is no more or less significant than Godot, since we as much as the character find ourselves sifting through a past created as much by ignorance and presumption as by any action on the part of Krapp.

‘It always comes down to the blethers’ a set designer friend is wont to point out, and McGovern is never less than the master of the seeming chaos over which he presides. Gestures and pauses are never less than perfectly pitched and always placed at the service of text and intention.

Clare Street is the vehicle created by Colgan and McGovern to continue producing the work of Samuel Beckett as they consider it should be. If this production is any guide, they are travelling in the right direction.

6th to 27th August (not10th-13th, 16th 22nd)times vary