Pros: A well executed and hilarious show.
Cons: You need to allow yourself to understand the deeper meaning behind the story before making a judgement call.
We live in a society that tends to alienate people, and box them up into categories without even thinking about each other’s feelings. The awareness of mental health issues, however, has increased over recent years and the more we become aware of the challenges they pose, the more we are able to take care of them.
Metamorphosis, adapted by Steven Berkoff, is a bizarre story in which we see a regular family that is trying to make ends meet by relying on their only son, Gregor. Gregor is overworked, overtired and terrified to disappoint the three most important people in his life: his mother, father and little sister. On what is supposed to be a normal morning, Gregor wakes up after being morphed into a dung beetle. His family tries and fails to accept him fully, therefore isolating him more and singling out their once beloved son. In a hilariously tragic way, you see the family trying to deal with this new challenge.
The performance is directed by Alice Sillett, with the help of Will Pinchin on movement direction. It’s an extremely well done job, as the entire play flows flawlessly. That would not have been able to happen without the talent of the actors – Adam Courting and Venetia Twigg as the father and mother, Maia Kirkman-Richards as the sister Greta and Simon Gleave as Gregor. Through physical theatre Gleave makes you see his transformation and it’s easy to imagine him as a beetle throughout the show, with a little help of an amazing puppet bug.
It is very easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the bizarreness of this play rather than looking deeper into the meaning behind it. As Sillett says, ‘Metamorphosis is about the outsider. It’s about anyone who has been isolated or has isolated themselves’. We judge and are judged every single day and the quickest way to protect ourselves is to isolate ourselves. This isn’t always the best solution, but it’s something that is so prevalent in every day life. Throughout the play, you find yourself relating to both Gregor, as the one being isolated, but also to his family members who are the cause of that. That makes the show eerily relatable, and it’s this quality that allows you to ponder the topic on a deeper level.
The Vaults make the perfect venue for a performance like Metamorphosis – sheltered, dark and it literally allows you to see the light at the end of the tunnel on your way out.
Original Author: Franz Kafka
Adapted By: Steven Berkoff
Director: Alice Sillett
Movement Director: Will Pinchin
Producer: Venetia Twigg
Set Designer: Valentina Turtur
Lighting Designer: Nic Farman
Puppet Designer: Maia Kirkman-Richards
Booking Information: This show has now completed its run.