Metamorphosis : Lyric Hammersmith

I managed to snap up a couple of tickets for Kafka’s Metamorphosis, at the Lyric Hammersmith for Rachel’s Christmas present, and last night we went to see it! Stuffed full of taquitos and hibiscus margaritas (yay for Wahaca!), we headed to Hammersmith to see the show on its return to the Lyric, after four years away.

(photo from here)

Icelandic theatre company, Vesturport, have adapted Kafka’s novella for the stage, placing Gregor’s bedroom above the family living room.
When Gregor fails to go to work one morning, and his family discover that he has turned into a horrid, beetle-like creature overnight, the change does not just transform Gregor. In the novella, Kafka never actually tells the reader what Gregor has turned into, calling him only a “monstrous vermin” and no explanation for his metamorphoisis is ever given. One day, Gregor is simply something different. The production does this really well, never questioning why Gregor has changed, and the family just attempting to adapt to the fact that he has.

The staging is done so well, with Gregor’s bedroom upside down, and Gísli Örn Garðarsson – who plays Gregor, as well as co-directing the production – uses the space to climb around the room, beetle-like. In fact, I think that for the entire 85 minutes, he might have stood on the floor for maybe ten of them, at most. If that’s not a ridiculously impressive show of upper body strength, I’m not sure what is. The split level stage works really well to show how isolated Gregor becomes, too, trapped and ignored in the upstairs room.

(photo from here)

(photo from here)

If you haven’t read the book already, you definitely should (there are free ebooks of it all over the internet, and it’s only short), and if you can get to Hammersmith, you should definitely try to see it. The run has been extended until the 16th February, as the original run had sold out – there are limited tickets available here.


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