Touring production seen at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
Lemn Sissay has adapted Franz Kafka's novella into a clever and entertaining script which Frantic Assembly have then brought to stage in their usual, crazy style. This is a wonderful evening of theatre, powerful, entertaining, thought provoking and visually engaging. The story speaks to current audiences with its theme of a family weighed down by debt, the sometimes unbearable pressure of being the breadwinner and male roles.
The set is very impressive and the use of projection really helps set contexts and moods. Movement is almost continuous and varies from an exaggerated normality to dance to near gymnastics. The underscoring music is effective and lighting enhances the set and allows for a number of surprising entrances and exits that keep us intrigued and engaged.
Gregor's transformation is handled very cleverly with the use of projected shadow and a genuinely impressive change in physicality from Felipe Pacheco, supported by the reactions of the other cast members this results in an utterly believable "insect" without explicit visual changes. In fact the core performance here, and I have no idea how he keeps this up all week, is by Pacheco, a quite amazing characterisation and stage presence. Grete is played very effectively by Hannah Sinclair Robinson (loved the violin playing!) and the remaining cast work well with Joe Layton's presence as the Chief Clerk being quite chilling.
Very much my sort of night out - brilliant theatre - thank you Frantic Assembly.