osef K (Ewan Leslie), awakes one day to find out he is under arrest. For what, the arresting officers cannot say, but he is free to go about his life, until he must present for his trial. From there, Josef K’s life proceeds to spiral out of control, as the impasse of being persecuted by an unknown power, for an unknown crime, takes over and destroys. Kafka’s The Trial, adapted by Louise Fox and directed by Matthew Lutton, is an uncomfortable and inexplicably satisfying play.
Inexplicable, because as you can see from that lack-lustre of a plot summary, the nature of this story and its themes are hard to pin down and identify. Yet, the collection of elements gives way to a fantastical production, helped in no small part by Leslie, who won his latest Helpmann for Richard III as I wrote this. Leslie gave a huddled performance, a man who was hushed and nearly defeated by life itself before we meet him, who becomes unquiet and tense as the absurdity of his trial takes its toll. Simply a beautiful actor to watch, he has an energy which feeds into the audience, and carries the play.