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Kafka Becomes A Ballet In London



Edward Watson as Gregor  in Metamorphosis performed in The Linbury Studio  Pitch perfect: Edward Watson as Gregor in Metamorphosis performed in The Linbury Studio Photo: ©Alastair Muir


The Metamorphosis, Linbury Studio, Seven magazine reviewEdward Watson excels in Arthur Pita's new version of Kafka's Metamorphosis, a tale that's tailor-made for physical theatre


by Louise Levene 

While never a textbook ballet prince, Edward Watson is an extraordinary performer: lithe, clever, mesmerising. He has transformed our reading of ballets such as Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling and made them his own.

Sadly, he has flowered at a time when there are no MacMillans or Ashtons around to celebrate his unique gifts, and he remains an untapped muse. Arthur Pita’s new dance version of Kafka’sMetamorphoss hardly scratches the surface, but it does make excellent use of Watson’s hyperflexible physique and genius for portraying the mind in disarray.

Pita’s scenario is utterly faithful to Kafka’s 1915 novella about a travelling salesman transformed into a giant, ailing cockroach. Many narratives are diminished by choreographic treatment but Metamorphosis makes perfect physical theatre.

You can trace Matthew Bourne’s influence in the no-nonsense storytelling and characterisation and in the odd flashes of humour. We first see Gregor Samsa in wage-slave mode, repeating a loop of everyday actions. Watson brings an obsessive-compulsive energy to these simple-seeming sequences, but he (and Pita) are at their best on six legs.