Metamorphosis, at the Lyric Hammersmith
I HAVE a confession to make.
In describing the set as the star of Metamorphosis, David Farr and Gísli Örn Garðarsson's stunning adaptation of Franz Kafka's masterpiece, I did the show a disservice.
Sure, the set is brilliant, as I stated in my preview, bringing to life Kafka's parable about alienation and inhumanity in clever, vibrant and playful style.
But everything else is just as perfectly pitched, from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis's mesmerising score, which seems to leach from the walls, to Garðarsson's muscular but tender performance as Gregor Samsa.
The play takes its cue from Kafka's novella, in which the hard-working salesman Samsa awakes to find himself transformed into a bug.
His middle class family, recently fallen on hard times, feels first revulsion, then pity and finally resentment towards the unfortunate young man.
When Samsa emerges from a cocoon-like bed, his metamorphosis is artfully conveyed as he scuttles acrobatically from wall to wall of the gravity-defying set.
Downstairs, his family's transformation is equally dramatic. Forced to abandon their rigidly structured lifestyle to pay the bills, they initially blossom upon entering the world of work.
But as they fret over the danger above, from their undesirable son locked in his room, they ignore the real threat from within.
Eventually, the arrival of eccentric but sinister lodger Herr Fischer (a hilarious turn from Jonathan McGuinness) brings matters to a head.
The microscope is very much turned on the humans in this production, their strained mannerisms appearing more alien than Samsa's beastly instincts.
The clearest analogy is with the rise of Nazism, despite Kafka's book being published in 1915, but this is a tale teeming with ideas.
From decay and rebirth to mental illness, it touches on any number of big issues while remaining, above all, an intensely beautiful, very funny and deeply moving experience.