Finsart Studio, Fri 17 Feb
The audience, or rather Members of the Academy, take their seats and await the evening’s guest speaker. The curtain rustles, and Red Peter, the monkey-turned-human, greets the crowd and begins his tale of transformation…
Melbourne-based Italian actor Nores Cerfeda is wonderfully intense in his delivery of Franz Kafka’s 100-year-old short story. It’s a bit of a roller-coaster – he ranges from child-like innocence to the rage of the barely sane, but holds onto the reins of his portrayal of a “civilised” simian throughout. The physicality of the performance is also impressive. Cerfeda is believable, despite wearing his human clothes, when acting out aspects of his early life as a monkey, and the story of his capture and subsequent cruel & unusual sinew-twisting incarceration is, at times, heart-rending. As an urbane European gentleman, delivering his paper, he is similarly plausible.
It’s a simple set, and there’s not much in terms of sound and lighting accoutrements, so it’s all down to the quality of the writing and the assuredness of the performance. There’s no questioning the worthiness of the writing, and the performance is excellent. Even the music pumping from the pub downstairs can’t distract the audience members from Cerfeda’s riveting portrayal.
Like much of Kafka’s work, the story doesn’t really follow a traditional arc; there’s a beginning, and an end. However, Cerfeda manages to provide ample food for thought as he gives life to the words of Prague’s finest while asking questions about the meaning and real worth of freedom.
The Kafkian Monkey continues at Finsart Studio until Sun 19 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.