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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

Love is all you need: The Island @cervantesthtr

A drama set on the seventh floor of a non-descript hospital waiting room may not be everyone's idea of a great night at the theatre. But love and all other forms of the human condition are dissected in Juan Carlos Rubio's The Island. Translated by Tim Gutteridge, it feels like everything is up for grabs. What is love? Is it a bond between two women with a fifteen-year age gap? Is it the love between a mother and her son with a severe unknown disability? A wonderful life full of health and happiness is not always an option on the menu, and the choices may become a bit less palatable.

Throughout a series of sometimes banal conversations, what comes out is a story of two women with lives that are separate and together. And while the piece becomes darker on one level as it progresses, it never ceases to fascinate and draw further insights into the couples. It's currently playing at the Cervantes Theatre

A couple waits in a hospital waiting room for the outcome of an accident with their son. But over the discussions about lousy coffee and age gaps, it becomes clear that there is something more than the potential loss of their son at stake here. There is the fragile nature of a relationship between two people. There is the resilience and resourcefulness of two people wanting to maintain the status quo. And there are also some pretty frank depictions about what being a mother can be. 

The cast is like two islands, as described in the play. Coexisting and cohabitating. But not necessarily together. It's fascinating to watch as both evolve throughout the piece. The mother, Rebecca Crankshaw, is harrowing as she recounts the events leading up to the accident as if it were just another ordinary thing. Rebecca Banatvala, the younger woman in the relationship, provides a strong and stable character at first, but then you watch her crumble as events take a surprising turn. 

It is a small-scale drama that feels epic in scope by the end of it as it delves into darker feelings about human nature. But one that is a revelation all the same. 

Directed by Jessica Lazar, The Island is at The Cervantes Theatre until 21 October. 


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