Dreaming that you are awake

More Tales from Kafka . copy pic

More Tales from Kafka . copy pic

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I went to a Kafka play ... or had I dreamed it? On the basis that I did see it, I can let you know that it was one of the more challenging performances I’ve seen for a while, and certainly the most thought-provoking.

It was great to see a theatre heaving with so many young people; they were there for The Woman in Black on the Main Stage rather than the smaller, entirely functional Studio.

But it was an enlightening experience, made brighter by its beautiful contradictions ... 13 people at times playing the mind of one, the universal connections with human behaviour despite the lack of human connectivity, the darkness of the setting and clothing that shone a light on hidden anxieties and unspoken thoughts, and the professional rhythm despite the seemingly unprofessional, deliberately ordinary cast.

Director Juliet Forster pulled together the essence of the tortured soul Frank Kafka into a witty series of links borne from part-dream, part-nightmare in which the sub-conscious takes over the mind when you think you are beyond thought. There were many excellent portrayals of the contributors with names such as the occasional Helpful Hint, the detached Voice, the changeling Dog, the annoying Bouncing Balls, and the Cleaner whose simple, no-pressure lifestyle was in such demand. A century on from Kafka’s original text, his themes and the concept of a mind with a life of its own are as topical and as relevant as ever.

There are a number of highlights that become locked in your brain ... the running without running of Joseph K (Christian Foster) trying to escape from himself, the flowing limb movements of the disembodied Ghost (Christie Barnes) and the ping-pong Bouncing Balls (Adam Bell and Wayne Hurton).

All together an 
illuminating, intelligent performance. (Runs until Thursday November 20 2014)