Kafka and Son (3 stars)

This article is from 2010

Kafka and Son

Goodies and Daddies

The fascination of the reading public with the inner psyche of Franz Kafka shows no sign of abating, perhaps because the neurosis he showed reflects many of our own quiet obsessions writ large.

This Canadian production, directed by Mark Cassidy, adapts a 50-page unposted letter from Kafka to his father into a monologue, in which performer Alon Nashman moves between the nervous, twitching son and the overbearing father in presenting a tale of repression and anguish, during which Kafka designates his father as his principal reason for writing. On a set strewn with black feathers, where fireguards and beds turn into cages, Nashman gives a committed and compelling performance, where each strategy of escape from his father’s crushing influence, from attempts at romance to escapes into a more intense Judaism are explored, then discarded. There’s no doubting the dark, intense energy of this piece, but some of the more rambling elements of Kafka’s missive tend to seep into the script, to the point where the piece though only a bit over an hour, outstays its welcome by perhaps 15 minutes. All the same, devotees of the writer might well be intrigued.

Bedlam Theatre, 225 9893, until 28 Aug (not 16 & 17), 2.30pm, £12 (£10).

Kafka and Son

  • 3 stars

At 36 Franz Kafka, author of 'The Metamorphosis' and 'The Trial', was still living at home, a petty bureaucrat, a failed artist, a timid Jewish son with an overbearing father as his constant nemesis. What to do? Kafka wrote, in this case a 50 page letter to his father in which he reveals deep connections between his life…