Old Dog Theatre’s adaptation of Kafka’s The Castle makes Kafka feel accessible. Kafka’s writing about bureaucracy and being a stranger in a strange land is as relevant as ever.
Sam Hill is K, a Land Surveyor from another place called to The Castle what follows after getting lost is confusion about his place in the world, who is in charge and the strange world he has inhabited. It seems to be like Royston Vasey only more confusing and much colder. Poor K finds himself dealing with incompetence, useless assistants Jeremias (Marcus Tischhauser) and Arthur (Joe Furney), unhelpful villagers (Margaux Kiryanni) falls in love with Frieda (Julia Grogan) who is already the lover of Clam, the only man it seems who can help him and through his friendship with Amalia and Barnabus (both played by Sulin Hasso) he finds out what repercussions minor actions can cause .
At 60 minutes this manages to condense Kafka without being nonsensical, the small cast and props/costume ensure there isn’t any audience confusion but Trevor White’s direction is let down by this inappropriate venue. With no raking only those in the front row could see the full action, not a problem on the whole but the use of puppets felt wasted when 99% of the audience cannot even see the puppetry. Christopher Mitchell’s score set this in another time and place, though what time and what place is never specified. This is a talented cast and an interesting choice of adaptation.
The Castle was in preview on 27 and 28 April. Further dates for this show, including a run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August.
16 May 21:00
The Etcetera Theatre, Camden
22 July 21:00
23 July 21:00
The Bread & Roses, Clapham
2-18 Aug (not Sundays) 16:15
Greenside Infirmary Street, Olive Studio