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Stratford Festival – O'Neill's Hughie and Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape

The Arts2008-7-24By: Classical Staff

Paula Citron
Written by Eugene O’Neill
Directed by Robert Falls
Starring Brian Dennehy and Joe Grifasi
Krapp’s Last Tape
Written by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Jennifer Tarver
Starring Brian Dennehy
Stratford Festival
Studio Theatre until Aug. 31

The double bill of O’Neill’s Hughie and Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape at the Stratford Festival is so popular that extra performances have been added. The draw no doubt is veteran American actor Brian Dennehy.

One of Dennehy’s strengths is his ability to utterly transform himself physically. In Hughie, he is, as he says, a “Broadway kind of guy”, which means a fast-talking, small time, oily, Times Square hustler. In the Beckett play, he is a crusty, old, self-destructive curmudgeon.

I did have trouble understanding some of Dennehy’s words. As Erie the hustler, he slid his vowels together, while bluster blotted out clarity in Krapp’s diatribes. I also did not get a strong chemistry between Erie and the night clerk played by American actor Joe Grifasi. I found the pacing off between the two.

Nonetheless, Dennehy’s strong performances show what a consummate man of theatre he is.

Hughie and Krapp’s Last Tape continues at Stratford’s Studio Theatre until Aug. 31.

I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for THE NEW CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.


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