There are two stars of Krapp’s Last Tape, the Samuel Beckett one-act that opened in a Red Line Productions show at the Old Fitz Theatre on Thursday. One is the set, by Brian Thomson, an accomplished worker on stage and film. A towering, glum phalanx of filing cabinets, battered and painted in a wan palette of shades, reaches three metres high; in front of it sits a solitary desk with a few other oddments of storage—a safe or two—and piles of old-fashioned audiotape. It’s a bleak metaphorical mindscape, and a perfect place for the titular Krapp to poke back into this life and memories.
The other star is our only actor, Jonathan Biggins, a rheumy, unstable, confused man searching for something that is lost in those cabinets and his reel-to-reel tapes. We watch him listen to himself at the age of 39, as that version of himself, in turn, reflects back to the man he was at 20; and that, in this brisk 50 minutes, is it—if by “it” we mean the echoes of memory, regret, love, and loss, and the overtones of the macabre, eroticism and oblivion he conjures up in an uncompromising and undeniable performance. Today, when our digital life makes the premise of Krapp’s Last Tape graspable by all with a simple look back into Facebook, this riveting and bleakly funny tour de force takes on whole new oceans of meaning.
Until Dec 14. Old Fitz Theatre, 129 Dowling St., Woolloomooloo. $58-$65+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.redlineproductions.com.au