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REVIEW ROUNDUP: Michael Gambon Opens in West End Krapp's Last Tape logo
Michael Gambon in Krapp's Last Tape
(Photo courtesy of the company)
Michael Gambon has officially opened in a West End revival of Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, playing a limited engagement through November 20 at the Duchess Theatre. Michael Colgan has directed the production, which was first seen at Dublin's Gate Theatre.

The play centers on a man who is reflecting on his life as he replays passages of tapes that he has made on his birthday for over 30 years.

Initial reviews are in from some of the daily newspapers and on-line sources and most critics are praising both Gambon's performance and Colgan's production.

Among the reviews are:

Daily Telegraph
Krapp's Last Tape, Duchess Theatre, review
"Over the years, I have watched unforgettable performances in this play from Max Wall, John Hurt and Harold Pinter. Now the great Michael Gambon joins their ranks."

"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 Guardian
Krapp's Last Tape
"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. His face is pale, his eyes dull, and his ragged clothes are covered in dust as if he has been the victim of some calamitous accident. He has. His life. It has tripped him up as surely as the discarded skins of the bananas he gobbles like a greedy child. There is something of the child too in the way he plays peek-a-boo with the light. His rage has the quality of a toddler's tantrum that turns swiftly to self-pity."

"Soon all will be silence. For a moment Gambon's Krapp howls like a cornered animal. And then he sits immobile, as if welcoming the inevitable, smothering darkness. Only his eyes catch the light, two pinprick stars in a universe entirely without consolation."

The Stage
Krapp's Last Tape
"But Gambon - wild tufts of hair protruding from his balding head, his eyes buried in hollow sockets above drooping jowls - is very much with us at 69 (the same age as the character). And, after illness forced his withdrawal from Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art at the National last year, it is a theatrical highlight of this year to have him back playing a man planning his final exit."
Krapp's Last Tape
"Lovely to see Michael Gambon, of course, but this Krapp's Last Tape, which comes from the Gate Theatre in Dublin, seems both too long and too short, padded out with extra business to last an underwhelming fifty minutes; insufficient bang for your £30 buck."

"[Grambon's] explosions of violent rage are truly frightening, and the repetition of the beautiful passage of "my face in her breasts" worth half the entrance fee. But the lighting's all wrong, and the pace of Michael Colgan's direction indulgent and uncontrolled."


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