THEATRE REVIEW: The Trial, Connaught Theatre, Worthing

HAD the author had his way, we would never have been able to read The Trial, never mind see it acted out on stage.

Thanks to Franz Kafka’s friend ignoring his final wish for all his stories to be destroyed, the classic work was published in a posthumous edition.

Since then, it has enthralled and intrigued, with its story of a man accused of a crime that is never explained and the nightmarish trial, where he must defend himself despite not knowing what he has done.

Steven Berkoff first brought the story to the stage in the 1970s in an experimental production, using mime and movement alongside drama, and an ensemble, meaning the cast of five are on stage at all times.

They take not only a range of parts, but become part of the scenery and the background noises, too.

Blackeyed Theatre brought their new production of Berkoff’s The Trial to the Connaught Theatre last week, delivering a polished, faultless performance that aimed to make the story approachable while never confirming any answers.

The magic of The Trial is that it means different things to different people and each is equally valid. It will depend what people’s own life experiences are as to where their understanding and sympathies lie.

There were hints of religion, of life’s challenges and even of man’s inability to escape himself, something perhaps only a tortured mind would follow.

Derek Elwood, I felt, stood out among the ensemble but all were excellent, with every moment choreographed and every sound thought out to add to the drama.

This was an exciting piece for the Connaught which was tremendously well received.

It confirms the theatre’s adaptability and it would be nice to see more of the same.

Elaine Hammond