Global hit show of Kafka's Metamorphosis back at Lyric

Jan 31, 2013

Triumphant return of Kafka's horrifying fable with stunning acrobatics and Nick Cave's haunting score


What you need to know
The stage adaptation of Franz Kafka's celebrated short story Metamorphosis, featuring music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, has returned to the Lyric, Hammersmith. Directed by David Farr and starring the Icelandic actor Gisli Orn Gardarsson, it first premiered at the Lyric in 2006 and has since become an international hit.

It tells the darkly comic story of salesman Gregor Samsa (Gardarsson) who wakes up one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a monstrous insect, much to the horror of his family. Runs until 16 February.

What the critics like
It's a "triumphantly skewed" version of Kafka's tale, says David Jays in the Sunday Times. The "astonishing" Gisli Orn Gardarsson springs between walls and scuttles down the banisters, his face etched with pain.

Kafka's horrifying tale "takes on an extra poignancy in a post-financial crash era", says Lyn Gardner in The Guardian. But the main reason for its success is the show's visual, physical and aural aesthetic, including the music by Cave and Ellis.

It's easy to see why this show has become a worldwide hit, says Paul Taylor in The Independent. Gardarrson's performance has "tremendous physical dexterity and emotional eloquence", while Cave and Ellis's score adds "a terrible pathos".

What they don't like
Gardarsson's "stunning" acrobatics are a marvel, says Henry Hitchings in the Evening Standard. "Yet for all its bravura, this Metamorphosis doesn't truly horrify."

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