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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

Flipping memories: Catch Me @FlipFabriQue @UnderbellyFest

It's the start of summer. The weather's hot and the Underbelly Festival at the South Bank Centre is opening with its usual eclectic mix of circus acts, comedy and cabaret. And Flip FabriQue's Catch Me fits this bill well.

There is beauty and fluidity in the performances. The premise is that ten years later a bunch of friends reunite for another weekend at a cottage together. They play. They have fun. And they do strange and unusual things with straps, trampolines and diablos.

Quebec-based Flip FabriQue brings together circus artists to tell stories drawn from their own experiences. With a backdrop of a cottage the acrobat routines evoke memories of the past and a spirit of playfulness.

A squeaking Bruno Gagnon is soon flipping through the air. Hugo Ouellet Côté on straps is looking at a photobook. Camila Comin and Yann Leblanc soon become intertwined on a Cyr Wheel. It's amazing to watch.

Underbelly is continuing with its reputation for bringing the best circus acts to the South Bank summer. And this had me recalling past years with Circa and Gravity and Other Myths.

Perhaps those productions were a little sharper and focused. Not every scene works here which makes the show drag at times.

There is an interlude in sleeping bags that seems out of place. Another segment with exercise balls and Barry Manilow's Copacobana seemed less impressive. It's probably not a good idea to use that as a backing track. It's too much of a distraction. Either half the audience want to sing along while the other half want to cover their ears.

Still it's hard not to like a show which features an ice-lolly eating competition and duelling diablos (not the sexy one's we're used to). There is also some incredible high energy trampolining to close the evening.

Directed by Olivier Normand, Flip FabriQue: Catch Me is at the Underbelly Festival at the South Bank Centre until 9 July.


Photos by Richard Davenport.

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