FRINGE REVIEW – Belt Up’s Metamorphosis (C Soco)

*****

12 – 30 August (not 25)
1700-1815, C Soco

It starts with a party. We are ushered into the Samsa family home by the excited guests, given party hats and offered biscuits and lemonade. We dance, we cheer, then take our places around the perimeter of the room as we await the arrival of Gregor, the successful travelling salesman and only son of the family.

Metamorphosis is a reinterpretation of Kafka’s tale by the ever-innovative and exciting Belt Up Theatre company. Performed in their House Above space in C Soco, the piece gives the original an unsettling and dreamlike mood as we follow Gregor’s fate after he wakes up one morning to discover he has turned into a giant insect.

Using aspects of physical theatre and dance, the cast make full use of the set, bouncing from floor to stage on a hidden trampoline and – in the piece’s stand-out piece of staging – crawling all over and around Gregor’s bed, elevated on a metal frame at one end of the room.

James Wilkes as the lead is excellent, portraying Gregor’s shift in emotions and devotion to his sister Grete with touching grace and brilliantly-controlled movements. As he scuttles around the floor or hangs by his feet from the frame, he is constantly captivating to watch.

The remainder of the cast – complemented by a Grand Guignol-style chorus of clownish freaks – also put in well-delivered and compelling turns, particularly the actor portraying head of the family, Mr Samsa – full of filthy habits and increasing distaste and despair at what his son has become.

As they sit amongst us, whispering their thoughts to individual members of the audience, Belt Up immerse us in the tale, amusing us with their antics, then ultimately moving us to the point of tears with the production’s emotionally-charged and brilliantly-realised final segment.

Metamorphosis is a production which gets under your skin – one you will remember long after you have filed out of the House Above, feeling fortunate to have witnessed – and been a part of – this tragic tale.

Ticket information is available on the Fringe website

Review by Keith D

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