Vesturport and Lyric Hammersmith Production – Kafka’s Metamorphosis

22 02 2009

I went to see the play tonight, having read it for the MA, and had my heart broken so much more completely than I’d expected. Gisli Orn Gardarsson’s Gregor Samsa was heart-rending in his brutal frustration, and I was struck afresh by the physical possibilities of the play. I marvelled at the transformation of his room floor into a gymnasium, and heard the collective gasp as he tore through the ceiling onto the dining room.

I mean, the fact that Gregor wakes up one morning and becomes an insect is absolutely absurd, but as the means of communication between him and his family deteriorate further his frustration and impotence are palpable: as his family goes through their various routines doing no more than ignoring him, his hopes for his sister Grete are terrible in their powerlessness, and heartbreaking in their dissonance.

But wow… oh, wow… the performances were superb, and Gregor was attractive in his frailty towards the end. Best play I’ve seen in a long time. But then I say that quite often with the calibre of the performances of this year’s Arts Festival.

Plus it was Nick Cave’s music. Perfect.

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