By Isabella Fraser
The setting of the Churchill Theatre as a venue for this play is perfect. Such is the state of seating during the festival, that it is worth saying the Churchill Theatre has very comfortable seats. A traditional, compact theatre space, it sets the atmosphere for what is one of Samuel Beckett’s better know works, Krapp’s Last Tape, a tale set towards the end of a man’s life, when he is reminiscing about his past.
The set is simple and stark with the dark chair and desk blending into the background, the sole white light illuminating the tape player. The opening scene sets the pace as some physical comedy emphasises the settling down and listening to a favourite recorded memory from his vocal diary alone in his home; the memory brings back a great deal of old stories and perhaps regrets.
The physicality of performer Barry McGovern is done well; the audience can gain the measure of Krapp by his movements and small sighs in his execution of his routine around the tape player. This is a ritual; there are big hints of the organisation in which Krapp, seemingly a slap-dash character, actually likes his routine.
McGovern holds our attention and Krapp is sometimes amusing, sometimes annoying, but it feels as if there is something more that would allow us to recognise – and perhaps feel sympathy for – the man who is the former womaniser described in the tape. It may be that Krapp holds more attention from those of a more similar background.
It is an enjoyable production however, and a great opportunity to see a Beckett production.
Krapp’s Last Tape runs as part of the Edinburgh International Festival @ 8:00pm (with matinees @ 3:00pm on 20, 26,27) @ the Churchill Theatre until 27/08/17. Running time 50 mins.