METAMORPHOSIS Theatre du Pif Cultural Centre Theatre du Pif's Metamorphosis is a visual feast. The lighting designs and audio effects, coupled with the stylised body movements, have brought this surreal nightmare vividly on to the stage. Based on Franz Kafka's classic novel of the same title, this 90-minute production captures the metallic greyness of the Kafka-esque world as well as the bleak mood of the original story. Gregor Samsa (played by Ng Ka-leung) is a hard-working salesman who one morning wakes up to find himself turned into a giant beetle. The sound of breaking glasses is heard - and Gregor's world is shattered. To add to his predicament, Gregor's father (Sean Curran) soon grows to hate the monstrous insect; before long, his mother (Phoebe Chan) and sister Greta (Mandy Chen) follow suit. After the metamorphosis, Gregor turns from being the sole breadwinner to a grotesque burden and shame for the family. As his family's memories of him as a human begin to disappear, so does Gregor's grip on his identity and reality. Only Greta's beautiful violin playing brings back his happy childhood memories. But even Greta eventually gives up playing it. Directors Curran and Bonnie Chan (who plays the adult Greta) have stuck to Kafka's novel but elaborated on the family's pre-insect days. For instance, Mr Samsa in one scene explains how he, too, has had to work hard in his young days - 'I toil, I sweat, I sew and cut,' he repeats - to support his young family. The play also explores the relationships - between father and son, mother and son, sister and brother - as 'family' is a crucial theme in the novel. Technically, the bleak atmosphere of the production is created by the greyness of the costumes and makeup - the actors' hair and face are covered with powder and their lips are painted dark blue. The occasional sound of a clock ticking in the background reminds the audience of the time-conscious characters, and throughout Metamorphosis there is a sense of urgency - a bit like living in Hong Kong. Indeed, there are a lot of feelings shared by the Samsas that the audience can no doubt relate to. The acting is excellent and the bilingual script works wonders.