Fringe Box



Dragon Review: Metamorphosis – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 23 Nov, 2023
Updated on: 23 Nov, 2023

The bleak set reflects the bleak and tortured life of Gregor (Felipe Pacheco). Photo Tristram Kenton

By Martin Giles

Let me lay my cards on the table. If my wife had not wanted me to go with her to see this play I would not have gone.

Now I am glad I did.

I am not sure I could agree with one of the many school students in the audience who, after the performance, said: “That was the best thing I have ever seen!” But the overused epithets of “Awesome!” and “Amazing” for once seemed justified. It was certainly impressive and memorable theatre.

Father (Troy Glasgow), sister Grete (Hannah Sinclair Robinson), Gregor (Felipe Pacheco) and mother (Louise Mai Newberry).

Kafka’s Metamorphosis, at least in this adaptation, does not have a straightforward plot line. And perhaps the scripting could have made it clearer. But then the themes are complex, obscure and open to interpretation, a bit like real life, you might say.

It crossed my mind that it was like looking at an abstract painting. You might not understand it, you might not even like it but it somehow fascinates you and leaves an indelible impression.

Sister Grete (Hannah Sinclair Robinson) tries to feed Gregor (Felipe Pacheco) after his fatal change. Photo Tristram Kenton

The story is dark. Gregor, played by Felipe Pacheco, is the central character. He is a young fabric salesman whose income sustains his family, mother, father and sister Grete (Hannah Sinclair Robinson).

Gregor seems to be on a work treadmill, the kind many of us might have experienced, a grinding repetitiveness: get up, go to work, come home, sleep and repeat.

His situation may look bleak enough but a terrible change is coming, a metamorphosis, and how Gregor and the rest of his family deal with it is at the heart of the nightmarish story.

Grete is undergoing her own change as she matures into womanhood. Photo Tristram Kenton

There were many things striking in this production from Frantic Assembly and Lemn Sissay: the distorted and disturbing perspective of the set; the use of music to add drama and tension; the effects and skilfully choreographed movements of the cast; and the clever use of lighting effects and imagery. All fully deserve mention.

The acting is good throughout but special mention must to Felipe Pacheco who plays Gregor. You can feel his pain and his acrobatic ability stands out in a play with sustained physicality.

For me this was challenging theatre but it is thought provoking and impressive. Some seats are still available, but be quick.

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *