GOSH, where is it best to start with deconstructing Alan Bennett's 80s comedy Kafka's Dick?

The play opens with Kafka announcing his dying wish is for friend and agent Max Brod to burn all his works.

Max flippantly teases Kafka to the point at which the author almost retracts the wish, prompting Max to ignore Kafka's instructions and publish all - letters, manuscripts, novels - thus becoming Kafka's most famous biographer.

Here lies Bennett's central plot - who can know best about the life of a writer - his family and friends, or the person who does the most research into his works?

The debate reaches fever pitch in act two as, although long dead, Max and Kafka ship up at the suburban home of Yorkshire insurance salesman and Kafka buff Sydney and his wife, Linda, a nurse.

Once over the shock, Sydney and Linda each in their own way try to get to the heart of Kafka's life story while Sydney's father views both the visitors with deep suspicion, believing them to be from social services hell-bent on putting him in a home. Then up pops Kafka's overbearing dad and the truth of the matter becomes ever more strained.

Adrian Lukis' pained, frail Kafka is well-matched with Benedict Sandiford's pacy portrayal of Max. Bruce Alexander (Supt Mullet in A Touch of Frost) is the perfect foil for Victoria Carling's Linda, who quite frankly steals the show as a free-spirited, put upon and disillusioned wife. Judging by the tuts from the audience, some didn't get the joke that far from sending up women in the play, Bennett was sympathising with their plight in post-'70s Britain.

And finally, Ian Lindsay (George in Men Behaving Badly) as Father deserves special mention for spot on comic timing.

Melanie Dakin