The Trial* (Shoreditch/Hoxton, 13 April 2013)

Posted: April 14, 2013 in Theatre

In his novel of the same name, Franz Kafka created a nightmare world in which the giant State machine turned against one person. This production invites us to immerse ourselves in that world and become the persecuted individual. Taking the format of The Menier’s “Accomplice London”, we are led one-by-one around various locations (not always too close which can be a problem in inclement weather) to meet actors assuming the guises of quirky characters who all try to persuade us that our predicament is becoming increasingly dire. At one stage, we are required to take a 15 minute walk through London’s East End receiving directions over a mobile phone, so there is certainly a real feeling of threat, but perhaps not of the type the producers intended. Beyond that, it is difficult to feel under arrest and the victim of persecution when walking freely in the open air and when we always have it in the back of our heads that, if we really faced torture and worse, Health and Safety regulations would have intervened. A further let down is that we never reach an actual trial, making the conclusion of the journey anticlimactic. Because of this and the absence of credible menace, the characters we meet seem mere comic eccentrics and the essence of Kafka’s work is lost, thereby making the whole experience rather pointless.

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