Tom Basden's Joseph K is a darkly comic stage adaptation of Franz Kafka’s classic novel The Trial, relocating the source material to 21st-century Britain. It was first performed at the Gate Theatre, London, on 11 November 2010.
It’s Joseph K's thirtieth birthday and he's about to settle down with some takeaway sushi. However, his delivery is intercepted by two men who have not only taken a bite out of his California roll but, rather more alarmingly, inform him that he is under arrest. He has no idea what he’s supposed to have done wrong but he's determined to clear his name. As he tries to make sense of his situation and to confront those who threaten his freedom, Joseph is thrown headlong into a fight against an invisible and illogical law.
The Gate Theatre premiere was directed by Lyndsey Turner and designed by Chloe Lamford. The cast (playing all the parts) comprised Tom Basden, Siân Brooke, Pip Carter and Tim Key. It was generally well received by the critics, with Lyn Gardner in The Guardian observing that 'Basden offers a worryingly familiar yet crazy world that suggests that the madness of contemporary life drives us all insane', while The Evening Standard described the play as 'breathtakingly funny, expertly constructed and dripping with acid wit'.