facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11

Krapp’s Last Tape

First Published 23 September 2010, Last Updated 23 September 2010

Michael Gambon starring in a play by Beckett on the West End stage; Krapp’s Last Tape is one of the most anticipated productions of the autumn.

The slowly built anticipation continues when the Duchess theatre’s curtain rises on a tatty, dusty-faced Gambon lying asleep slumped on a writer’s desk, as for the first 15 minutes of the production the theatrical knight does not speak. Instead, he shuffles around the desk, passing the time, setting out his tape deck and previous recordings, checking, with a hint of paranoia, over his shoulder and delighting in his discovery of hidden bananas.

Here is a man with too much time for contemplation on his hands. With nothing to do but drag his nails across the embossing on his desk, introspection comes all too naturally.

When we do hear the actor’s voice, it is not always live. Krapp is returning to an annual ritual, made every year on his birthday, of listening to old recordings and making a new one. Gambon sits still, listening to a long past, but clearly never forgotten, encounter with a woman. Every twitch, every shudder, every blink conveys a deep, unquenchable sadness.

As Krapp tortures himself, his mourning of youth, love, optimism and vitality lost to the ravages of time and the passing of life are both painful and touching to watch. The show’s short running time – it comes in at less than one hour – is more than enough time to spend in Krapp’s depressing company, but just enough time to remind us to live life to the full and try not to dwell on regrets.



Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.