Krapp's Last Tape (Studio Theatre)
Sheffield Theatres' production of Beckett's renowned play is more for the aficionados than the uninitiated
Everything about Polly Findlay's production of Samuel Beckett's renowned play Krapp's Last Tape is meaningful and stylish. Alex Lowde's set - half shed, half cage - provides a fitting metaphor for Krapp's isolation; Dan Jones's sound design is simultaneously striking and unobtrusive; and Richard Wilson's rich tones and shambling presence are perfectly suited to Beckett's elusive character.
Yet, unfortunately, the experience of the production as a whole fails to be greater than the sum of these considerable parts. Wilson, it appears, had initial misgivings about being shut off from the audience in Lowde's cage-like shed; his actor's, and perhaps director's, instinct proving right, as the result robs him of his potential to really connect with the audience.
This is not an inexplicable theatrical decision; the production ensures its audience experience an alienation and disconnect, perfectly in keeping with Beckett's text. But arguably, when a text is as obtuse as this, an audience does need something more than it is given here.
You certainly can't fault Sheffield Theatres nerve: this is a production far more likely to intrigue Beckett aficionados, than draw in the unfamiliar.
Krapp's Last Tape continues at the Studio Theatre Sheffield until 19th July 2014.