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Michael Gambon

The Insider: How to get lighting right

Nosing at other people's homes from the top of the bus after dark, I always marvel at so many rooms robbed of atmosphere by dependence on stark central ceiling lights. A lamp or two is a start – but what else can you do with lighting to transform a space?

A Number, Menier Chocolate Factory, London

Caryl Churchill's play could not, at first glance, be more topical – on the day of its opening, the doctor who developed IVF won a Nobel Prize. But, on second hearing, the 50-minute two-hander seems less impressive than when Michael Gambon and Daniel Craig performed it on its premiere in 2002 or when Timothy and Sam West, the current cast, did so in Sheffield in 2006.

Krapp's Last Tape, Duchess Theatre, London

It's a year since Michael Gambon was obliged to abandon rehearsals for Alan Bennett's Habit of Art because of a health scare. What a pleasure, therefore, to be able to welcome the fully restored actor back to the London stage now in Michael Colgan's powerful production of Krapp's Last Tape, which has transferred from Dublin's Gate Theatre. One wonders whether there's an element of witty defiance in Gambon's decision to give us a portrayal of the great Beckett protagonist that so pointedly highlights the fact that he's not long for this world. There's certainly no danger of any further tapes from the chronically dilapidated, terminally enfeebled figure he cuts here.