Another (nearly glowing) review of "Kafka v Kafka". It is obvious that the author,Howard Colyer, knows his Kafka and is attuned to Franz's life. He seems to have captured the family dynamic and understands the role of Franz's peace-keeping mother (a thankless task) and the lifeline which his sister, Ottla, provided. There are times, I am convinced, when Kafka could not have survived without his sister.
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BWW Reviews: KAFKA V KAFKA, Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, January 20 2012
by Gary Naylor
Though neither party descends to the deathless phrase, "I don't believe what I'm hearing", there's plenty of that soap opera staple - inter-generational conflict - in Howard Colyer's play based on Franz Kafka's long, ultimately unsent letter to his father, Hermann, written in the aftermath of World War I. With Franz coughing throughout, the shadow cast by his death from tuberculosis and his family's later annhilation in The Holocaust, is never far away either.
If that sounds grim, it's because this is a serious work honouring its principal character with a high-minded aesthetic - the Magritte-inspired set and props, shadow-throwing lighting and eeriely atmospheric music are all beautifully conceived and executed. The play circles the two men locked in a trial of strength (literally, at one point, across a table - see here) each gifted by an extreme power. Alas those powers do not complement each other - they destroy each other.