YOU may recall Kenneth Alan Taylor playing a grumpy old man, embittered pantomime dame Harold Thropp, in Philip Meeks’s revenge comedy Twinkle Little Star, in York Theatre Royal’s Studio last year.

This week he has returned to The Studio, and just as he knew the dame’s world inside out after being the Berwick Kaler of the Nottingham Playhouse for 25 years, so he knows his latest role very well.

He is appearing for the third time in Samuel Beckett’s one-hander Krapp’s Last Tape, another grumpy role and one he has played at three-yearly intervals for the Nottingham Lakeside since 2003.

“Never say never,” says Kenneth, 71. “The first time I did it, I said that would be it, but then Luxembourg came along and took it for a week in 2006 at the most beautiful theatre, and we went on tour to various other theatres in England and that was definitely it.”

So, what happened? “My agent rang me up, and she said, ‘Will you hear me out? Krapp’s Last Tape. I said. ‘Don’t even think about it’, but then she said the wonderful word ‘York’.”

As long as there “wasn’t much else on the tour”, Kenneth agreed to do it one final time. Two nights at the Lakeside the week before last were followed by shows in Lincoln and Halifax, and from Tuesday this week he has been treading the York boards once more.

While he can see similarities between Harold Thropp and Krapp – who is reviewing his life by listening to tape recordings he had made decades earlier – he points to differences, too. “While they’re both very bitter, very sad, unlike Harold, Krapp has brought about his own demise. Everything that has happened to Krapp is of his own doing.

“The difference between them is that Krapp does give up but Harold will fight to the very end. I wouldn’t be surprised if Krapp goes to bed that night, finishes off the bottle and that’s it, because he knows it’s the end. So it’s not a very happy play.”

It may be considered a solo piece, but not so in Kenneth’s mind. “I’ve always said that there are three people in this play: myself, the tape recorder voice and the girl who operates the tape recorder because she’s vital.”

• Krapp’s Last Tape runs at The Studio, York Theatre Royal until October 24 at 7.45pm. Box office: 01904 623568 or