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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

Fried chicken runs: Cuckoo @sohotheatre

Everyone hates Iona. She talks too much. Her only friend is non-binary mate Pingu who doesn’t speak at all. So they decide to get the hell out of Crumlin on the next Ryanair flight. Afterall it is the part of Northern Ireland that has the Airport. But their decision to leave makes them a bit of a celebrity.

Despite the enthusiastic cast, Lisa Carroll’s play Cuckoo doesn’t cover much. It’s currently playing at the Soho Theatre. It’s your typical young person wanting to break out of shitty town story. If you’re unfamiliar with Crumlin in Northern Ireland, you can only assume it’s pretty grim. Much of the action centres around a place called Texas Fried Chicken.

We don’t get to know the characters well. As they fight and film each other for instagram stories they become less and less interesting.

I was hoping at one point we would understand why the two central characters were friends. But in this ninety minute play dragged out to nearly two hours, we get one fight or dance routine after another. Someone swears, drinks cheap beer from a can and we move on to the next scene.

The production isn’t helped by a curious decision to stage the production in the traverse. If you’re sitting on the wrong side kills one of the more comic moments when Iona is trying to arouse the local lad.

Still the cast work best with what they’ve got. Caitriona Ennis has great comic timing as the talkative and eccentric Iona. Towards the end she declares she wears Crocs because she wanted to wear them. It comes across as a declaration of a person in search of the creature comforts of normal life.

Directed by Debbie Hannan, Cuckoo is at the Soho Theatre upstairs until 8 December.


Photos by David Gill

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