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Kafka-ish: Kafka @Finborough

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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

Beauty fades: Dorian A Rock Musical

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Usually, rock stars either die young or fade into obscurity as they become old and weathered. If they’re lucky, they will get tour with their greatest hits or get on some celebrity television show. But when it's a rock star by the name of Dorian, you know that he's going to be a baby-faced singer with a few skeletons in the attic. Or at least a portrait that's a bit suspect. Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, serves as the inspiration for this story of an eternally young rock star who wants to discover love. The electro-pop soundtrack makes it more like a nineteen-nineties pop musical than a rock musical. But it's melodramatic enough to hold interest as this Dorian takes off with both song and his heart. Although I was hoping that fate would befall Dorian like other nineties stars once he destroys the painting. Such as morphing into resembling a cab driver and  shouting about conspiracy theories . In this case, however it’s a faithful rendition of Wilde’s story. 

No small parts: Friend (The One With Gunther) @onewithgunther

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Suppose you have neither the time nor the intellect to sit through 236 episodes of Friends on Netflix. In that case, thankfully, writer and performer Brendan Murphy distils the ten seasons into his show, Friend (The One With Gunther), as told by Gunther, that guy who manages the coffee shop. The coffee shop is where much of the action of the show takes place. It's a strange location that looks like the show's creators couldn't work out whether it should be a bar, a diner or somebody's living room. But as acknowledged here, Gunther was there (albeit more prominently from season two), and so he is the best man to give his view on the goings on. And since the Friends characters always talked so loudly in the coffee shop, he could hear everything.It's part recap and part piss-take. The latter suits if you missed all ten series of the primarily white, often homophobic yet still curiously popular series.  Murphy takes us back to a different time and place. The nineties. B

Fear of missing out: A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) @SilentUproarPro

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When you chose to see a show called A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) , you know that something serious will get an upbeat musical cabaret treatment. But the cast's enthusiasm makes this show about discovering that it is ok not to be ok both compelling and a delight. It focuses on Sally as she comes to terms with understanding what it means to be depressed. From her first feelings of not being there in the moment. To the denials that anything is wrong. To the false dawns that she's made a breakthrough and managing it. And while a show about depression and suicide may not be for everyone, every stage is covered with a healthy dose of curiosity and perspective. And after nearly 18 months of lockdowns, the struggles of young people to find their way and carve out a future for themselves seems even more relevant.  Written by Jon Brittain, it's more of a show than a play. With props on stage and a cast of three that play a range of roles in Sally's life. As the s