Joseph K

Joseph K is a modern day adaptation of Kafka’s The Trial brought to us by students from KGS Theatre Company. Set in 21st century London this piece, written by Tom Basden, follows the life of Joseph K around the time of his 30th birthday. Following a sushi delivery intercepted by two strangers, he is informed of his arrest. This play tells the story of how his life turns upside down in the weeks following this event. His identity is wiped, bank cards and personal records are frozen and there is no-one who can help him clear his name.

A very promising piece from a young company that demonstrates the intellect and talent their generation has to offer.

This play is performed by a large cast of promising male and female student actors, many of whom play a number of different roles. Most of the actors are portraying characters that are older to them and I was very impressed with how believable their performances were. Basden creates a number of comical characters in this piece, my favourites including the cross dressing pair of detectives, the promiscuous intern Lenny, Bear the window glazer and Joseph’s doll-collecting, gluttonous lawyer.

There are many clever and thought-provoking themes in this political satire including power, control and the luxury of freedom. This play mocks bureaucracy and a number of intelligent and humorous sketches are delivered on the use of automated services and unhelpful case workers. Without meaning to sound patronising I was surprised by the sexual content in this piece and how well this young company dealt with some of the more mature themes.

This play could definitely be cut by half an hour and can often rely heavily on stereotypes for comic purposes. However this is a very promising piece from a young company that demonstrates the intellect and talent their generation has to offer.

Reviews by Lynn Rusk

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The Blurb

Tom Basden’s darkly comic adaptation of The Trial relocates Kafka's classic novel to 21st-century London. On his 30th birthday, Joseph K has his sushi takeaway intercepted by two strangers who inform him he is under arrest. Unaware of what he has done wrong, he is determined to clear his name. Tapping into the zeitgeist of personal liberty, justice and control, the play ridicules and questions the meaning of freedom in the present political climate.