Tuesday, 21 July 2015

REVIEW - The Trial, The Young Vic

FOUR Stars

JOSEF K is a normal man. He has a good job in a bank, friends and life seems good. Then on the morning of his 35th birthday, he is woken by police and arrested for a crime or crimes unknown.
His arrest is the start of a living nightmare into which Josef descends unable to escape or stop. It is a a frightening and hellish situation where nothing is as it seems and there are no answers to anything.
The Trial was originally written by Franz Kafka as a short story before being turned into a play. A new adaptation by Nick Gill is now on at the Young Vic starring Rory Kinnear.
As the audience file into the theatre the first thing that hits you is a bright orange hue which is incredibly disconcerting. We are then seated in tiered rows as if in a courtroom.
The second thing you notice is a travelator which splits the theatre in half and much like Josef's nightmare situation, once it starts moving, it doesn't stop.
It is an odd story in that we never know why Josef is singled out for punishment. There is nothing out of the ordinary about him and he seems to have led a pretty blameless life although there are hints about his sexual experiences in the past.
It is perhaps for this reason that he mixes his speech with something reminiscent of baby talk, a babble that seems to be him thinking aloud as if in some altered state of mind.
The action takes place almost exclusively on the travelator and throughout the two-hour long show, Rory Kinnear as Josef is never off it - an incredible feat for any actor.
Not only does he have to avoid bumping into any of the props which trundle along it, he also has to dress, undress and deliver his lines and he does all of this brilliantly. It is an incredible performance.
The rest of the cast take on multiple roles and provide great support, particularly Kate O'Flynn who shows off a superb range of characters from the lovely, sweet kind Rosa who lives next door to Josef, to the lap dancer seen at the beginning of the play.
It's all pretty intense and at two hours with no interval it is exhausting to watch. But it is a stunning piece of theatre and a superb performance from Kinnear.

The Trial is on at the Young Vic, The Cut until August 22. Visit www.youngvic.org or call the box office on 020 7922 2922 for tickets.

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