Written by Franz Kafka, adapted and directed by David Farr and Gisli Orn Gardarsson
Produced by Lyric Hammersmith and Vesturport Theatre
Liverpool Playhouse (5th-9th February 2008)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This adaptation of a novel, first published in 1915, which foresaw the extermination of Jews by the Nazis, does not possess the chilling menace of the book written by Franz Kafka.

Plus points however are when the lighting creates a prison-like effect to the bedroom of Gregor Samsa (Bjorn Thors), who had earlier woken up one morning transformed into an insect turned into an insect after waking up one morning - with bars ranged all down the wall.

The stage design of the bedroom is also unsettling, with the floor being upright, which adds to the alienation from his family suffered by Gregor after his hideous transformation.

His physical appearance sickens them but they also feel aggrieved towards him because - prior to his metamorphosis - he was the main wage earner in the family. This forces some of them to have to return to work to maintain their living standards.

They become increasingly detached from him, and stop regarding him as a human being, as was the case with the guards in concentration camps, be it in Germany or the USSR, or more recently the American soldiers’ attitude towards inmates at Guantanamo Bay.

This leads to Gregor becoming more and more isolated from any semblance of humanity towards him.

The ending is marvellous to watch, with some spellbinding lighting effects, symbolising the dark deed that had befallen Gregor.

Special mention must go the ever-present menacing musical score composed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, which adds pathos to Gregor’s predicament.

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Comment left by steph on 17th September, 2008 at 15:46
the book was so much better than the movie

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