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Kafka-ish: Kafka @Finborough

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In offering proof that Kafka is everything to everyone - writer-performer Jack Klaff plays various roles, including the man himself in what is a part tour, part immersion and part legend of Franz Kafka. He is a writer who achieved fame after his life was cut short due to succumbing to tuberculosis at the age of forty. He is probably better known for his reputation and the Kafkaesque style attributed to his writing than his life. But after this piece, you’re left curious to learn more about the man and his works. And that has to be the best theatrical tribute you could give a writer, even for a writer who stipulated that his works be destroyed upon his death. It’s currently playing at the Finborough Theatre . Franz Kafka was born in Prague in 1883. In 1901, he was admitted to a university and began studying law. While studying, he met Max Brod, who would become his best friend and eventual literary executor. Brod would posthumously publish many of his works and writings. Kafka’s life co
Theatre: A patch of blue

Last week I decided to claim credit for F voting for the first time (it was all that incessant chatting about political processes that did it), so this week I taking credit for getting F and A to the Kings Head Theatre to see A Patch of Blue. I pointed out that apart from being a culturally enriching outing, we would be supporting one of the few surviving theatre pubs in London, before Wetherspoons or some other antiseptic chain moved in and took away its character and turned the theatre space into a restaurant… Well it may not get like that just yet, but the theatre's long-term future is hardly certain.

Anyway back to the play. It was originally a book, then a film with Sidney Poitier and Shelley Winters about a blind girl living in an abusive home meeting a black man and falling in love. Oh and it is the Deep South (America). The end result wasn't as predictable as all the situation might have alluded to however. The acting was also terrific which helped give everything some credibility…

The staging wasn't bad for the confined space of the theatre either. Although there were two issues I had:

  1. There was an extended sequence at the beginning where the blind girl is raped. It probably wasn't necessary to inflict the small audience with two minutes of screaming and rape… but we got it anyway…
  2. Towards the end of the first act, a clap of thunder which was part of the story had me jumping out of my seat and exclaiming "Jeeeezus", much to the amusement of F and A. In a desperate effort to regain some dignity, I tried to explain that I was just getting caught up in the drama but they didn't buy it.

Leaving the theatre I asked F and A if they were glad they went. There was general agreement that it was worth the effort, although F thought that the poster made the lead far more attractive than he was in real life. I disagreed suggesting that if there was a problem it was because he wore the same shirt and trousers throughout the play and we didn't get a good perspective of his range. A commented that as she prefers café au lait men more anyway she wasn't in a position to make a final call on this…

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