Franz Kafka's modern classic Metamorphosis is showing at the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith until Sat 28th October.
The bizarre tale of a man who wakes up to find himself turned into a giant spider and his family's response to this comes alive beautifully on stage. Set to an original, haunting soundtrack, the 2 storey stage allows the audience to simultaneously experience the changing reactions of the family from fear and disbelief to transient kindness followed by negligence and downright ruthlessness , alongside the increasing isolation and suffering of the transformed man.
I was struck by the parallel situation of various people with chronic diseases such as cancers but also mental illness, which is heavily stigmatised because it is so poorly understood from both the clinical and public perspectives. I found the sense of betrayal by the sister was particularly poignant, in contrast to the denial and indifference exhibited by his parents.
With the exception of a few humourous interludes (I think designed to take the edge off the raw emotions felt by the audience), the play stays faithful to the story. Incredibly powerful - well worth seeing.