Skip to main content

Krapp's Last Tape

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars

Samuel Beckett's old man Krapp is already sitting there at his wooden table piled with his personal detritus as the audience file in to the Tron's tiny Changing House attic space that lends itself so atmospherically to Beckett's portrait of a lonely soul rummaging through his back pages. Gerry Mulgrew's Krapp peers out, pasty-faced and seemingly already dress-rehearsing the lie of an after-life that can't come too soon. There's a low electric hum in the air, the sound of amplified breathing into a microphone, and is that a disembodied voice keening in the ether?

For the first ten minutes of Paul Brotherston's production, Krapp wordlessly strains himself through the basics of getting by, almost coming a comic cropper as he goes. As he rewinds his collected tape-spools that immortalise his younger self, innocence and experience seem to spar with each other as Krapp attempts to recapture the essence of his old loves.

One of the most astonishing things about Brotherston's production is that no-one has thought of getting Mulgrew to do Beckett before. Here, after all, is an actor who has long been prepared to fly without a safety net as is required here in a performance that lends Beckett's 1958 solo dialogue with himself an intimacy and a poignancy like few others.

This makes for a production that is meticulous in its attention to detail, even as it is shot through with Mulgrew's hunched and haunted fragility as Krapp. Running for only four nights until Saturday, this co-production between the Tron and Blood of the Young artistic director Brotherston lays bare an already quiet masterpiece as an even more close-up elegy to a lost self.

The Herald, October 7th 2016

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…

Pauline Knowles - An Obituary

Pauline Knowles – Actress
Born December 16 1967; died October 17 2018
Pauline Knowles, who has died suddenly of a heart attack aged 50, was one of the most powerful stage actresses of her generation. Over more than twenty years, Knowles brought a quiet intensity and fierce intelligence to every part she played. This was the case when she played the barely articulate rural woman in Philip Howard’s original 1995 Traverse Theatre production of David Harrower’s modern classic, Knives in Hens. It was still the case when Knowles gave a ferociously contemporary portrayal of Clytemnestra in This Restless House, Zinnie Harris’ stunning reinvention of Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy directed by Dominic Hill at the Citizens Theatre with the National Theatre of Scotland twenty-one years later.
Knowles occupied both roles with an innate sense of each woman’s everyday ordinariness in ways that made their experiences totally recognisable. As a result, however extreme their actions and however powerful the…

The Duke

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Shon Dale-Jones seems like a very nice chap. You can tell from the way he welcomes each member of the audience into the theatre, shaking them by the hand to a soundtrack of energising 1960s feel-good soul. Such a personable approach helps create a warm and intimate atmosphere, so when he sits at a desk with only a laptop, a volume control and us for company, you can’t help but be charmed from the start of this hour-long foray, both into his own fantastical mind as well as the discursive set of first-world contradictions it lets loose into the world.
It begins with a Royal Worcester porcelain figure of the Duke of Wellington on horseback, which Dale-Jones’ dad bought in 1974 for £750. This would make it worth more than £8,000 in today’s money if his mum hadn’t broken it while dusting. This is just one more thing for Dale-Jones to think about as he attempts to apply a script doctor’s ruthless critique onto a film script he’s been working on for a deca…