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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

Fille matérielle: The Massive Tragedy Of Madame Bovary! @JSTheatre

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After seeing The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary, which is currently playing at the Jermyn Street Theatre, I found myself walking past the shops of Piccadilly wondering what Madame Bovary would make all of this apparent luxury. She was a woman ahead of her time, running up debts to live a life of luxury while having both a sensible husband and a lover. She would fit in in a nation where household debts have risen by a third . Even if she was living in a small provincial town.  So the premise of this piece by John Nicholson is whether it could be a comedy. Particularly given the time of the year when Christmas is approaching, and everyone is just after a feel-good night out at the theatre. The answer is, perhaps. The comedy is mostly sight gags and props, while the story of indebtedness and boredom in the provinces no doubt will enthral London audiences by reaffirming their own life choices.  But while we get a sense of the basic plot behind Madame Bovary,  we don’t understand the moti

The young and the infectious: Make Mine A Double @ParkTheatreLondon

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Ah, to be young, carefree and single. When the receptionist at the clinic testing for gonorrhoea knows you by sight, or you haven't yet found the right (Jewish) man to settle down and enjoy smoked salmon and bagels. You know that there is trouble afoot. Park Theatre has programmed a series of short plays from emerging artists called Make Mine A Double this month. Four shows are running for two weeks apiece. And the first two are hilarious.  The first piece is called Anything with A Pulse . It's a two-hander about twenty-somethings falling in and out of love in London. Describing all the action in the third person can sometimes be a bit jarring. The reviewer thought. The reviewer also struggled to keep up with the goings on in the drama. But that was probably more to do with his age than the writing. Still, things move fast in this boy meets girl on the dance floor and then returns to her place for some ambiguously unsatisfying sex before they go their separate ways, wondering

Songs in the sand: From Here to Eternity @charingcrossthr

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From Here To Eternity lands at the Charing Cross Theatre with all the energy and enthusiasm of a surprise attack on the layabout and jaded audiences of the West End. Afterall, audiences at the West End seem a bit soft these days. This revival focuses on the leading characters in the story, making the two weeks leading up to the bombing of Pearl Harbour a musical theatre event that doesn’t let up… much. Adapted from the novel by James Jones, the musical has lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Stuart Brayson, and a book by Donald Rice and Bill Oakes. It is a pared-back version of the show that was on in the West End nearly ten years ago. But this also helps distil the drama down to the bare essentials. And the smaller space of the Charing Cross Theatre gives the piece intensity, focus and a sense or urgency.  Centred around an army unit stationed in Hawaii two weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbour. There's talk of war but no action except for the fighting among the men. There's so