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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

Under the influence: Liza on an E

Australian performer Trevor Ashley makes his West End debut this week in his show Liza (on an E) at the Vaudeville Theatre. What could be just another pub drag tribute act is given a lift by an energetic performance, some great singing and classy big band under the music direction of George Dyer.

Ashley created the role of Miss Understanding in the original Australian production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and he has performed a variety of cabaret shows. But here the focus is on Liza Minnelli, which even though he doesn't quite look like Liza (more like a character from Little Britain perhaps), he manages to successfully channel her mannerisms and quirks. Even if you don't know her history as a performer (such as yes she really did do a duet with Donna Summer in the eighties) he covers her career with a variety of songs that makes for an evening that is is a lot of fun.

The songs were either recreations of songs Minnelli has made famous throughout her career, or slight modifications (written with Ashley's collaborator Dean Bryant) that predictably reference drugs, alcohol or marrying gay men. If you have seen Minnelli perform you might think it is not quite the same thing, but equally at times you will forget it is a bloke up there... People were having a hell of a time with the antics and great music.

It's on at the Vaudeville Theatre until Saturday and look for offers online. Hopefully we will be seeing more of Trevor Ashley either in the West End or on the Cabaret scene in future.

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