Kafka's Dick (2007)

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Poster by Maria Bates

by Alan Bennett

Directed by Lisa Thomas

Performances: Wed 21st - Sat 24th November 2007, Prompt Corner


From the Wikipedia entry on Kafka's Dick:

Set in the present-day in a suburban Yorkshire dwelling, Kafka aficionado Sydney, and his wife Linda, are visited by Franz Kafka and his friend Max Brod whom are both long-dead. (Kafka had left instructions for all his works to be burned – instructions which Brod chose to ignore).
As we spend time with the unusual party, it becomes clear that Kafka's wish was for anonymity – and also that he had serious issues with his father. When his parent turns up, he is in possession of a very personal secret relating to his son – one which Kafka is terrified he will disclose.<ref>Kafka's Dick on Wikipedia</ref>[/quote]

The action is set in Prague in around 1920, somewhere in West Yorkshire in 1986 and in Kafka's subconcious.




Carole Coyne Remind me never to kiss a tortoise - even if it has had the urine washed off.

A very delicate production. There are actually loads of very funny lines but, tonight at least, they tended to be of the broad-grin-a-second-later variety rather than the side-splitting-and-falling-off-your-chair variety.

Very strong and believable performances all round and hard to hand out particular accolades but I think that Caroline would just win my "man of the match" award.

Simon Holland It would be a huge shame, not to mention a disservice to all involved, if this Prompt production slipped by without decent audiences this week.

It's great. A strong play (typical Bennett: very silly, yet also hugely intellectual in its own way, without being elitist) and well performed across the board.

It's pointless to try and explain the plot or purpose of the play, because half the fun of watching it is working out the raison d'etre. It's simply very very playful and a delight to take in the next sequence of amazing dialogue.

So go and watch it. There are some priceless moments which, again, I will not spoil.

The only detractor for me is that the production is not very slick technically. Some of the entrances and exits could be better rehearsed, and I wasn't entirely sure of the set layout and what the various entrance/exit points actually denoted. Looked very messy at times -- however, this may be due to adjusting to the space and I'm sure it will tighten up during the run.

But then again it's not a very technical play and those things are a definite side issue for theatre bores like me. So ignore all this and simply enjoy it for what it is: laugh-out-loud fun.

Nice one!

Louisa I have to concur with our esteemed MC Holland. This is a brilliantly conceived and cleverly written play which is very amusing and, without alienating those who are not up to scratch with Czech novelists, provides an entertaining and light-touch philosophical evening out. Well, I thought so!

Well done that cast, I'm, sure the technical difficulties will all be quickly overcome, everyone, come and see it!!

Catherine Ellis An enjoyable production - well done to all involved. Many moments had the audience giggling away and the surreally realistic plot is engaging enough to make you (almost) forget about the arctic conditions in prompt for a couple of hours.

Strong performances from all involved - special mention to Caroline Doyle for a superb performance as the disenchanted housewife with some brilliant comedy timing.

I did feel that perhaps some music at the start and in between scenes would have enabled the scene changes to flow more easily. However, that is a personal point of view coming from someone who is a music whore(!). Generally, pace was good, characterisations were believable and engaging and the interaction between the actors was great - particularly between Matthew and Caroline as the tired married couple, reinforced by a beautiful moment towards the end.

I would definitely recommend seeing this. Well done to the director, cast and crew.

Hazel Hindle A very entertaining evening, well done everyone. Great accents, Caroline and Matthew sounded as though they were born and bred 'Up North, and although I am not familiar with the Czech language the actors sounded believable. Some lovely comic moments.

Jenny Mac Saw it last night and loved it, loved it, loved it! A really wonderful play - clever/funny - and excellent performances and characterisation. Congratulations to all involved for delivering a really enjoyable, well-executed ensemble piece.

Anton Very much enjoyed this last night, despite the cold.

A very Stoppardian piece of Bennett, which was right up my street, enhanced by some convincing performances. I agree with Catherine however that music between scenes would have made things flow a little better.

Does the tortoise have an agent yet?

Naomi Liddle Really enjoyed this last night. Lovely script, some nice performances and a star turn from the tortoise - what more could you want from a night out?

I especially enjoyed seeing Caroline playing against type as the put-upon yet feisty housewife and will remember some of her hysterical one-liners for a long time.

Well done all - if you haven't seen it yet get down there tonight or tomorrow or you will miss out on a gem.

Mark Bullock I watched this last night and really enjoyed it.

Matthew Lyne's father stole the show whilst trying to avoid 'going to a home' and Dave Hollander was great as the 'Friend of Kafka' biographer.

Strong performances all round - reminded me slightly of a Dario Fo play.. though maybe that's just me..

Loved the ending though slightly confused by the fade-down with Matthew and Caroline which led to some confused clapping, maybe that was intentional.

Though I know we are restricted on budget I thought aethetically it could have been a bit pleasing to the eye. Maybe some kinda of askewed perception of the set that leant itself to the (without ruining it) figures appearing throughout the play as at times thought we'd just transported stuff from the rehearsal room. (Form over content argument I suppose, but you can have both.)

Sound wise in my experience it might have been better just to have no-one ever leave and incorporate everything into the space.. either that or not dim the lights and play on the bizarre nature of the play.. but hey they are just all 'in the moment' opinions.

Interesting and thought provoking play that had a deeper underlying meaning than it's surface comedy suggested.

Anyways well done all and hope you're sold-out for rest of the run!!


Production photos by Mark Davies - click on thumbnails for larger images

Reminiscences and Anecdotes

Members are encouraged to write about their experiences of working on or seeing this production. Please leave your name. Anonymous entries may be deleted.

See Also

Kafka's Dick (1998)



External Links