Barnstaple's Fringe Theatre Festival
June 23rd-26th 2016

Krapp's Last Tape

James Elston


Krapp sat beside a table, head bowed and still. The groans of a weakened alcoholic filled the room whilst the audience watched with an uncertain anticipation.

An intriguing adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s play of the same name, Krapp’s Last Tape introduces us to a lonely old man who obsesses over his past. He cannot resist the lure of revisiting fond memories and listens to a recording he made thirty years previously detailing his history.

Krapp’s anxieties spread into the audience as what starts as a humorous compulsion quickly becomes a torturous ritual, a drunken composition of language and emotion skipping back and forth between love and darkness. You couldn’t help but feel as if Krapp had been through this routine before.

Ambient sounds brought the room to life as crashing waves and piercing lightning evoked a sense of fear and isolation. We grew to feel his pain through crazed gestures and limited possessions rather than his words. His biographic narrator drew an unsettling conflict from within his consciousness and James Elston provided a superbly chilling performance in bringing this disturbing yet innocent individual to life. He perfectly captured Krapp’s internal struggle and truly became one with this distinctively sombre personality.

I am left wanting to know more about this character and ultimately where his memories took him.
Tom Whitton, The Daily Fringe