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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: The Flying Karamazov Brothers

Friday night, half way through the second act of the Flying Karamazov Brothers when lead Karamazov (Paul Magid) was trying to say something funny, a lady in the second row staggers to her feet and interrupts saying for all to hear, "I just wahnt to saye that theeeshow is aabsolutely wahnderful". At this point Magid offers to give her a kiss. She initially declines announcing that her shoes are off (prompting the audience begin wondering if she was the owner of the shoes that were offered up for juggling in the first half of the show). Eventually she gets up, staggers up to the stage, gets a kiss and staggers back to her seat. It was random acts of humour throughout this show that made it all somewhat worth the while.

The Flying Karamazov Brothers have been performing for years and this time around have brought their vaudeville-like show to London (appropriately to the Vaudeville theatre). You may be familiar with their appearances in an episode of Seinfeld, or further back as a bunch of the misfits in the mildly missable 80s movie Jewell of the Nile.

Here they present a show of juggling, lame jokes and general silly business. It is Marx Brothers meets Monty Python (and possibly the Muppets going by how they look). While not everything hits the mark, it is such a good natured show that it is hard not to like. The jokes are at the level of, "We're doing this without a net!" "Yeah we forgot to invite her!" But young people (and drunk women) particularly seemed to enjoy it and they surely should be able to get children in by the busload as school winds down and teachers are looking for something to do to fill in time...

In the first half there is their scene where "the champ" attempts to juggle three items brought in by the audience. If he is successful the audience gives him a standing ovation, and if not, he gets a pie in the face. If you are going, it would be advisable to bring something sloppy or mushy for this (the best we could come up with as an audience on Friday evening was wet umbrellas and the shoes). As he successfully juggled a sponge cake, tomatoes and a pineapple we had to give him a standing ovation. The rest of this half could probably do with an extra song and shorter sketches. But you get the feeling they are still trying and testing what London audiences go for.

The second half is where things seemed to flow a lot better and the segments of jazz juggling and juggling with the nine objects of terror (which included a plastic fish which didn't seem that terrifying) worked really well. There are loads of juggling and vaudeville acts around these days but once you get into their silly little world it is fun enough and at ninety minutes including interval it doesn't overstay its welcome either. There are matinee and evening performances on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and good seats will be found at the usual discount places too.

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