J. Kelly Nestruck reviews a recent Toronto production of Krapp’s Last Tape, starring Bob Nasmith in the leading role:

I’ve seen Harold Pinter and Brian Dennehy perform the part of Krapp before, but there’s something altogether more fitting about Nasmith taking it on. The two men I mentioned are large in body, and big names; Nasmith, by contrast, is a small fellow, somewhat shrunken now in his 70s, his striking face telling an extraordinary story (as Beckett’s once did).

The actor is not a household name, unless your house happens to be on the stretch of Queen Street West between the Cameron House and Theatre Passe Muraille. A Vietnam War vet who was active in the Rochdale College scene in Toronto in the late 1960s, he recounted getting his first bank account and phone number in an interview he gave less than a decade ago.

Nasmith’s performance is exquisite – the pathos not overplayed, the humour stinging but still funny. When he holds a peeled banana in his mouth, it is the epitome of the word “absurd.” When he listens intently and then gets lost in memory, you see that boat moving gently, up and down, and from side to side.

— J. Kelly Nestruck, The Globe and Mail

Posted by:Rhys Tranter

Rhys Tranter is a writer based in Cardiff, Wales, UK. He is the author of Beckett's Late Stage (2018), and his work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator, and a number of books and periodicals. He holds a BA, MA, and a PhD in English Literature. His website RhysTranter.com is a personal journal offering commentary and analysis across literature, film, music, and the arts.

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