Part II of Retz theatre company’s reimagining of Franz Kafka’s The Trial in London’s East End has each person in the audience implicated for a crime in the future based on what they may or may not do.
Bill Bingham with a member of the audience in The Trial at Rose Lipman Community Centre, Hoxton, London Photo: Tristram Kenton
Once again it would be a spoiler to reveal what happens. Retz has taken over the Rose Lipman Building in a sleepy street in Dalston. The transformation is impeccable. The tense paranoia of Kafka’s nightmare plays out through a series of dusty rooms as a huge cast feathers a file of your ‘history’ - each room more unsettling than the last - until you are found guilty for your online behaviour.
What strikes deepest here is the actors’ ability to stay true, person after person, essentially improvising for everyone as they roll through the doors. It matters that it’s so good, because with any immersive theatre project, convincing the naysayers to get involved must be heartburn for the team. But, Retz stands out - the attention to detail, the control, and more than anything else the set, which is outstanding, grips from first to last.
Here is a project in the East End that justifies its weighty funding.