REVIEW: Krapp’s Last Tape – Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012

A Summer Full Of Peaches Review Krapp's Last Tape

Our first show of this year’s festival was Krapp’s Last Tape, a monodrama written by Samuel Beckett (Waiting For Godot). In this festival run, it stars Tom Owen as Krapp, and is directed by Fiona Baddeley. Owen is probably most famously known for his role in Last Of The Summer Wine.

Krapp’s Last Tape tells the story of Krapp, a man on his 69th birthday, reviewing tapes he made on previous birthdays. It gives us an insight into the man’s life as he listens to a tape he made 30 years ago.

The first part of this play makes for quite awkward viewing. Krapp doesn’t say much, and it’s in this silence that we start to understand what sort of man Krapp is. The layout of the venue encourages this – it’s almost as if you’re invading Krapp’s personal space, sitting in his living room when you probably shouldn’t be.

"Krapp's Last Tape" at Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Krapp is an infirm old man, clearly approaching the end of his life, and is quite unsettling to watch. Think for a minute of that weird old man who lives down the road – everyone has encountered that character at some point in their life, and you often find yourself wondering whether they’ve been at the bottle a bit too much or if they are just a bit non compos mentis. This is not a character often used as a lead, and it’s quite a grounding performance. Age is something we often forget about, or rather, aging as a human process. We all experience this, and it’s easy to ignore the fact that we could equally end up as a bitter, disdainful shell of our former selves by the time we reach our seventies. The whole experience is quite intimately contemplative.

As a bit of a disclaimer, I don’t really know “how” to review theatrical performances, but I enjoyed Owen in this role. I understood what he was conveying at every point in the play: he was the right balance of bitter, fumbling, and comedic. His eloquence was impressive throughout the whole monologue.

If you are familiar with the play, or have even seen it before with another actor in the role, this is definitely worth watching. Overall, it’s a very strong performance, and is thoroughly enjoyable even for those like me who went into the performance with little prior knowledge.

4 stars.


  • 4th – 26th August 2012 (not 13th)
  • The Assembly Rooms, George Street
  • 14:45 (1 hour)
  • 14+ – under 16s with an adult

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2 Comment

  1. Thanks for this, Stacy. A great review. Felt I was watching the play with you. Not sure if I’m in the mood to contemplate older age (now being in my 50s!! Yikes!), especially Becket’s portrayal of it, but good to know what’s on! Cheers :)

    1. Stacey says: Reply

      Hi Marianne,

      Glad the review was of some use(!) I am very concious that the festivals can be hard to make head or tail of, given that there are just so many shows on – reviews can help with that (well, I’ve always found them useful!), so I’m glad that we’re writing our own ones this year.

      We’re seeing quite a lot of shows this year, so there shall be more recommendations as the month progresses.

      Cheers for you comment!

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