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Kafka-ish: Kafka @Finborough

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: Complicit

img_0621, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

At intermission at Complicit Monday evening at the Old Vic it was a case of some people being complicit in staging photos featuring a very nice looking celebrity and director. Well some people at least seemed to be unnaturally excited to be in his theatre...

Kevin Spacey is directing this new play by Joe Sutton with Richard Dreyfuss, Elizabeth McGovern and David Suchet in the cast. It is still in preview but early word has been all about Richard Dreyfuss using an earpiece to remember lines. It is earpiece-gate. Now after seeing it I have to sympathise with all the actors as they have some weighty dialogue to deliver at times. It is afterall, another play about life under the Bush administration. And perhaps as a new president is innaguarated, the punters aren't ready to relive the horrors of the past eight years.

The play itself centres around a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist (Dreyfuss) who has to face a Grand Jury and divulge the name of his source on stories about the use of torture and rendition. The story has echoes of the Judith Miller / New York Times case and as the play unfolds it is the subject matter that keeps you hooked. And waiting. For the dramatic. Pauses. To pass.

Well I wasn't bothered by that and I wasn't bothered about Dreyfuss's earpiece either (it could have been a hearing aid as he looks much older than he is). His delivery was fine too. What was a shame was the less-than-convincing relationship between Dreyfuss's character and his wife (McGovern). She seems to have not much to do at times other than act with her back to the audience. Perhaps the big ideas of politics, journalism and power get in the way of developing sympathetic characters. Maybe another week of previews could help smooth things. Or maybe I was just too fussy. At the end of the performance there were more than a few people on their feet applauding.

All told while it isn't a brilliant play, it is still worth catching. It looks great too and so does the Old Vic with its new theatre space and bars. There is Sino Thai or Meson don Felipe nearby for a bite to eat. It all adds up to a rather sensible evening of good dining and modern politics and moral dilemmas if you ask me... It is on until 21 February.

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