THE INFORMATION on `Krapp's Last Tape'

What Is It?

Robin Lefevre's beautifully focused production of Samuel Beckett's hour-long monologue, which is part of the 18-play Beckett Festival at London's Barbican Centre.

Who's In It?

John Hurt (right), in an all-too-rare stage appearance, turns in an arresting performance as the eponymous old recluse who, on the "awful occasion" of his 69th birthday, sits down to record his retrospective of the past year and to listen to excerpts from his previous recordings.

What They Say About It

"What makes Hurt a natural for this role is that he possesses a face full of wrecked Rembrandtesque fascination, suggesting acres of complex hinterland, and a voice that has an extraordinarily compelling, kippered, lived-in quality... an unforgettable performance," Paul Taylor, The Independent.

"Hurt's performance hit me for six and the force of Beckett's ravishing despair remains undimmed. A ghostly, ghastly pathos is achieved," Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard.

"Hurt's fine performance makes you feel you are witnessing far more than an exercise in glum metaphysics. Throughout his long monologue, his Krapp exudes a sort of pensive intensity. Even when Hurt is obeying Beckett's bizarre stage directions by morosely peeling bananas and letting their innards droop like tusks from his mouth, his eyes give the impression of boring, drilling, gouging their way into private secrets fathoms below the surface," Benedict Nightingale, The Times.

Where You Can See It

Krapp's Last Tape is at the Barbican, London EC2 (0171-638 8891) to 18 Sept

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