Beetlemania: Kafka for Kids! (4 stars)

Beetlemania: Kafka for Kids!

Unlikely subject provides great material for child-friendly show

This is 'a serious show about a serious man', deadpans former Perrier winner Will Adamsdale at the top of this kid-friendly show. Franz Kafka's literature is an unlikely theme for a performance aimed at youngsters, but Beetlemania is truly inspired.

An imaginative hour of music and storytelling that engages its broad church of an audience, it makes a punchline out of endings: in Kafka's writing they're sometimes bleak and often abrupt, and arrive without an obvious resolution. With that in mind, there's an important lesson to be found in this show, delivered (of course) in song form: sometimes neither good nor bad is appropriate because sometimes life is a mess.

Beetlemania was created by Pappy's Tom Parry, whose youthful energy stops things becoming too heavy, as does Heidi Niemi (delivering most of her lines in Finnish at a frenetic pace, full of expression). There are interpretations of four Kafka stories: 'The Bucket Rider', 'Poseidon', 'The Bridge' and 'Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor', with each brought to life on a cardboard set with lo-fi costumes (the envelope man with stamps for eyes is a particular joy). There are pantomime elements aplenty and Adamsdale's poker face provides an endless mine for jokes.

Pleasance Dome, until 26 Aug, 1.15pm, £12–£15 (£10.50–£13.50).

Beetlemania: Kafka for Kids!

  • 4 stars

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