Audio Drama Wiki

Kafka the Musical is a radio play by Murray Gold. It was first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 24 April 2011[1].

Actor David Tennant won a BBC Audio Drama Award in the category of Best Actor, for his performance as Franz.

Murray Gold won the Tinniswood Award for Best Radio Drama script 2012 for Kafka the Musical.


Franz Kafka finds he has to play himself in a musical about his own life. The play - or is it the musical? - introduces Kafka and the audience to some of the key characters in his life, Milena Jesenska, Dora Diamant and Felice Bauer.


  • Franz Kafka ..... David Tennant
  • Father ..... David Fleeshman
  • Mother ..... Joanna Monro
  • Milena ..... Naomi Frederick
  • Felice ..... Jessica Raine
  • Dora ..... Emerald O'Hanrahan
  • Barman / Singer / Doctor ..... Trevor Allan Davies
  • Newspaper Seller / Man ..... Brian Bowles

Critical Reception[]

"Over at Radio 3, Berlin was the setting for Kafka the Musical, Murray Gold's drama about a tubercular Franz Kafka appearing in a musical about his own life. This should have been fun, and indeed David Tennant was subtle and amusing as a gauche and hesitant Kafka, urged by his wonderfully overbearing father (played by David Fleeshman) to make something of himself and break out of the short story business...But as the play wore on, the sensation of being in a bad dream intensified and the counsel of Kafka's dad, "People don't pay money on a Saturday night for dark thoughts!" began to resonate. Was it deliberate, one wondered, that the listener should end up wishing the play less Kafka-esque, or even, failing that, just a bit more of a musical?" - Jane Thynne, The Independent[2]

"I listened to Murray Gold’s Kafka the Musical all the way through, including the final half-hour (where it does actually turn into sort of a musical but the kind of musical where you wonder how much more of it there is) right down to the very end. Here was a fantasy about Kafka being woken up by his father one day and told a local impresario was willing to put on a theatrical version of his life.

This was going to make him money, something his writing hadn’t. But it turned out to be a dream, a nightmare, with all the characters of Kafka’s life and quite a few of his lines and plots all jumbling together in the way dreams do. The excellent cast gave it salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Even when Tennant had lines like “I’m just a writer. I write because I have to” before two knocks at a door heralded two men singing, Weill-style, “Two sharp knocks at the door, two men come in the night…” the performances stayed energetic. The play, alas, lay dead on the air." Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph[3]