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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

Film: The Queen

Today I caught the movie The Queen which is about that rather unusual period in 1997 when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash and the attempts of the new PM Mr Blair to get the monarch to understand the mood of the public. It was quite an extraordinary film and very well written. While it may not have happened in the way it is presented, the cleverness of the film is that it makes you think the dialogue is believable. Apparently it has used a mix of corroboration from close sources in both camps with a healthy bit of speculation. But at its heart is a great play between two figures of power dealing with change (intercut with real footage of the huge outpouring of grief at the time).

Michael Sheen, who has already played Blair (and Kenneth Williams) in TV dramas, again shows his versatility recreating those heady days of the New Labour era when there wasn't any Iraq, Lebanon or backbenchers passing notes... But Helen Mirren in the title role doesn't quite so much act as channel ER in this film. Actually discussing it later with Ad we agreed that to play the Queen all you needed to do was walk around Balmoral as if you needed a hip replacement and speak slowly and end your sentences on an inflection such as "One does think that would be appro... priate, don't you Mr Blair?" Be careful though, if you are not a trained and brilliant actor like Mirren you could end up sounding like Donald Pleasance as Blofeld... Anyway, definitely a film worth catching...

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