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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

The eighties are calling: The Ocean At The End of The Lane @NationalTheatre

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The Dorfman Theatre at the National is transformed into a thicket of imagination (and a few scares) in this brisk and evocative adaptation of Neil Gaiman's book of the same name by Joel Horwood. Even if you're unfamiliar with the book, this production directed by Katy Rudd, quickly establishes a strange and unusual world. And not just because it was set in 1983 when T-shirts were always pastel colours and hair had to have a perm. With a strong cast and endless theatrical tricks, you'll find yourself enthralled in its exploration around how people remember the past and the blurring of reality and fantasy that come with memories and time. Opening with a funeral, a man returns to his hometown and stops by the place where he remembers a girl called Lettie who he knew as a young man. There he encounters her grandmother again and soon is transported back to the time when they knew each other as a boy, which just so happens to be the early 1980s. The boy (Samuel Blenki

Sex and violence: Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci @RoyalOperaHouse

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Things take a gritty and violent turn in the  Royal Opera 's new production of  the short operas Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci.  With its sumptuous music and a production that moves the action to recent times, the melodrama and violence seem so palpable. 

Looking in the round back: Orpheo @TheRoyalOpera

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The Royal Opera and Roundhouse joint production of Orpheo is a surprisingly fresh and lively interpretation of Monteverdi's early opera based on the Greek legend of Orpheus and his attempt to bring his dead bride Eurydice back from Hades. When you first enter the Roundhouse, you know you are going to be in for something a little bit different from both companies. Apart from a large circular stage that is thrust forward, there is a giant ramp and seating surrounding it all. You don't normally see that in the Roundhouse where most concerts are standing room only affairs. As the music starts the performers descend down the ramp and take their places as if it were a royal court - with Pluto and Proserpina taking seats at the high gallery. It evokes the origins of this piece as court entertainment, but also as if you are watching Greek theatre. And it gives a sense of intimacy to this large venue. There is also a religious theme running throughout the production with perf

New legs to an old ride: Carousel @Arcolatheatre

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Carousel , the second musical from Rodgers and Hammerstein is given a new lease of life in this energetic and sexy production currently playing at the Arcola Theatre . Updating to 1930s against the backdrop of the Great Depression gives this production a chance to be a bit rougher, a bit more dangerous and a lot sexier. But the decision to sing without amplification and paring the production back to its bare essentials gives a chance for the characters to be understood better. It also helps minimise some of the sentimentality now attached to many of the songs from the piece.

Triumph of the barihunks and projectionists: Don Giovanni @RoyalOpera

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Opening night of the Royal Opera's new production of Don Giovanni shows that with the right cast and a few modern elements you can deliver a dazzling and memorable production that is sexy, funny and musically memorable. Original barihunk , Mariusz Kwiecień plays Don Giovanni. He looks the part and is charismatic enough to almost made you forget that he sounded a little tentative in the early part of the evening. His final damnation in this production appears to be that he is left alone rather than dragged down to hell to be left alone to contemplate hell and his hunky self.