And Now For Something Completely Different
Imagine waking up to discover that you’re not the same as you were the day before. People look at you differently, they hear you differently and the unconditional love they once had for you is gone forever. What’s worse is that everyone pretends the problem doesn’t exist as long as matters can be kept hidden from others.
Yet this is precisely the nerve rattling terror family provider Gregor (Bjorn Thors) copes with in an upstairs bedroom where he’s climbing the walls with confusion. A supportive sister, Greta (Unnur Ösp Stefánsdóttir), stands by her older sibling’s shocking transformation but parental unit’s Herman (Tom Mannion) and Lucy (Edda Arnljótsdóttir)
have distanced themselves from their insect offspring.
“Stop staring at him Herman, have some stew,” insists mother.
“Do you expect me to eat in a situation like this?’ responds father.
And if Franz Kafka’s freaky deaky tale—through symbolism or personal experience growing up—underscores the trials and tribulations of being an outsider, just wait until you see how directors David Farr and Gísli Örn Garđarsson up the ante in this frantically funny, eerily imaginative and visually magnetic adaptation. Never before have you seen a story like this and chances are you never will again.
Bodies are right side up and upside down with little sign of strength being used in this highly artful physical piecing that boldly gives a middle finger salute to gravity. Not only is a birds eye view of second floor bedroom an illusionary mindbender but it’s almost impossible to figure out how it’s pulled off.
Gregor’s stage appearance—or lack of—is perhaps the smartest design choice that could be made in this archetypical story or our time. No mask, no costume, no progressive alteration takes place which holds steady the character’s vivid perspective of the madness that surrounds him.
And when darkness falls upon the play’s slow moving closing scene, a final wave of emotion rushes over with the deeply moving sounds of Nick Cave’s ‘Sweet Little Song’ to illustrate infinite misfortune. All of this played to a peaceful garden background which has tear ducts swelling in harmony.
If playgoers demand an incomparable theatre experience, Metamorphosis delivers fare more than it dares to promise. There’s just no better way to shake the February blahs this month.
Review by Steven Berketo
METAMORPHOSIS By Franz Kafka Jan. 28 – Mar. 9, 2014
Royal Alexandra Theatre 260 King Street, Toronto
Tickets $20.00 – $99.00 416-872-1212 www.mirvish.com
CAST Björn Thors, Unnur Ösp Stefánsdóttir, Tom Mannion, Edda Arnljótsdóttir, Víkingur Kristajánsson
DIRECTOR David Farr, Gísli Örn Garđarsson