Sir Michael Gambon returns to West End stage
Actor Sir Michael Gambon has returned to London's West End, one year on from his withdrawal from another stage play due to ill health.
Dame Maggie Smith, David Walliams and Tom Hollander were in the first night audience at his solo performance of Krapp's Last Tape by Samuel Beckett.
Sir Michael will perform the 52-minute play twice a night during its run.
Last year the 69-year-old pulled out of Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art after doctors advised him to rest.
His role was subsequently taken by Richard Griffiths in the National Theatre production.
Sir Michael is no stranger to Beckett's enigmatic work, having performed it at the Gate Theatre in Dublin earlier this year.
First staged in London in 1958, the play revolves around an old man listening to his younger self via taped recordings.
"I'm so used to being in the West End that I find it quite usual," said Sir Michael after Wednesday night's performance at the Duchess Theatre.
"First night is a bit frightening but you deal with it."
Reviews so far have been positive, with the Guardian's critic praising Michael Colgan's "artfully pitched" production.
The Telegraph, meanwhile, praised "the great Michael Gambon" and his "extraordinarily eloquent" voice.