As the Theatre Royal Summer Season rolls on, the little performed comedy Kafka’s Dick treats the audience to a great cast and an excellent production of this Bennett classic.
The play is set mainly in the home of insurance salesman and Kafka buff Sydney (Nicholas Burns) and his lonely, unfulfilled wife Linda (Samantha Spiro.) Into this seemingly dull suburban world crashes the absurd meeting of Kafka (Daniel Weyman) and his lifelong friend Brod (Elliot Levey.) Kafka had ordered Brod to burn his writings after his death, Brod did not and so Kafka slowly learns his is a world famous literary figure, albeit a reluctant one. The final piece of the puzzle is the arrival of Kafka’s overbearing, bullying father, Hermann (Matthew Kelly) who tries to rewrite their relationship for the history books.
It takes a little time to find it’s rhythm but there is great humour and Samantha Spiro as Linda find a real depth in her role as the wife and carer of Father (Barry McCarthy) who turns in a fine cameo too.
Despite the title, there is a real soul in the piece and issues of name and celebrity are addressed alongside whether everyone should be allowed to know everything about someone without their permission. The juxtaposition of the reluctant celebrity and unauthorised biographer is also thought provoking.
Kafka’s Dick runs until Saturday.
**** (4) Stars
Review by Petra Schofield