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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

Close-knit families: Beowulf An Epic Panto @Kingsheadthtr

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Charles Court Opera are back with their boutique panto season at the Kings Head Theatre . This time they are taking a story of epic proportions with Beowulf. It helps to know the epic poem. It helps to know various pop cultural references and songs thrown into the mix. Alternatively, you can let much of it sail over your head and enjoy the inspired silliness of it all. And indeed, that’s more than anyone could want out of a pantomime? It’s currently playing at the Kings Head Theatre.  In this version of Beowulf, the hero (Matthew Kellet) has a bit of an image problem. And not just because of his 80’s inspired hair. He expects to be the hero to save the day, but Princess Hrothmund (Julia Mariko Smith) can take the monster Grendel on her terms. Grendel doesn’t seem to be much of a monster either. Played by Philip Lee, he wants to make friends. His mother is another matter. There’s some inspired messing about with both the tale of Beowulf and the conventions of pantomime. The principal bo

A class of their own: HMS Pinafore @KingsHeadThtr

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Charles Court Opera's production of Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore takes life below deck to a new level. Set on a bright yellow submarine in the 1960s, it is a treat. Particularly with some excellent vocal singing from the small cast. It's currently playing at the Kings Head Theatre . As a satire on the enduring preoccupation by the English on class, the piece never feels dated. So shifting the time and place doesn't seem such a bad thing. It's full title HMS Pinafore, or, the lass that loved a sailor pretty much sums up the story. The captain of the HMS Pinafore intends his daughter to marry the first Lord of the Admiralty, but she is in love with a lower-class sailor. Here with a small cast while the chorus is reduced, it allows us to focus on the main action. And the music under the direction of David Eaton on keyboard. The cast works well to balance the demands of the music with the comic elements of the piece. As the lovestruck sailor Ralph Rac

Small yet perfectly formed: King Tut A Pyramid Panto @KingsHeadThtr

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Christmas is coming and so that means that pantomime season is in full swing. Charles Court Opera is back at the Kings Head Theatre with their off-kilter take on the panto genre with King Tut, A Pyramid Panto. Pared back so it’s called a “boutique panto” this one is small but perfectly formed with cheap laughs, a weird plot and some fine singing. Set in the Valley of the Kings, a small troupe of explorers are about to open up King Tut’s tomb only to find themselves whisked back in time to when King Tut ruled with his pal... Who just happens to be a talking Camel.