The first thing that struck me with Nick Gill’s The Trial at the Young Vick was the stage as I walked in. Whenever I go to a theatre I’ve not been to before, based on a simple siting plan found on a website I never know what to expect. What I got was a fantastic seat with a space performed in the round, dominated by a keyhole…which transformed into a fantastic moving stage that took the performance to that next level and made it so much more than I had expected.
This is also probably the time to admit that I’ve not actually read Kafka’s The Trial of which the play is based on. I’m aware of it, have always wanted to read it and know loosely the premise of the book (having also had it form a fantastic scene in Jasper Fforde’s Lost in a Good Book – part of the fantastic Thursday Next Series) and I think this both helps and hinders me going into the play. On the one hand I have a complete blank page to understand and appreciate the performance for what it is without preconception, but on the other hand the preconception and my understanding of the text could have helped. I’m always going to go with the former because even when I have read a text I like to go in blank to have that fresh interpretation.
And it was fresh, the staging gave it fantastic movement, and a very fluid way to move both the time, action, pace and set, allowing the characters to move around the area in interesting ways. Rory Kinnear was a great Joseph K flitting between the here and now and the internal monologue; that stunted, punchy conversation. The highlight however for me was Sian Thomas as Mrs Grace. Her presence was fantastic, in that Mad Men-esq suit, lines effortlessly flowing with beautiful precision that gave such life to the role.
I very much enjoyed this production and will be encouraging everyone to go and see it. I will definitely be going back to the Young Vic if this is the calibre of show they put on.
The Trial is on at The Young Vic until August 22nd.