Frankenstein

Wed 3rd – Mon 29th August 2016

reviews

Richard Birch

at 22:36 on 14th Aug 2016

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'Frankenstein' is proficiently performed; with no discernible errors, compelling acting and a successful translation of novel to stage. However, the sad fact is that despite all these successful aspects, the play fails to maintain audience interest.

One notable fault is that the play is predominantly, but not entirely faithful to the original. For instance, a romantic relationship between his Victor’s best friend and his wife-to-be is conjured from thin air. Likewise the decision to change Victor’s initial reaction from revulsion to a desire to teach the monster is confusing, and removes some of the emotional content from the original novel. However, these flaws are not disastrous and are more irritating to a fan of the novel than a significant problem to a layperson’s enjoyment of the show.

The lighting is often adroitly used to captivate the audience, and at this they do succeed. The acting is very strong throughout, with the monster in particular providing a rather poignant humanity and infantile innocence to the role. Despite being slightly dull as a play as a whole, the acting is flawless. Somehow, there is something wanting; but it is definitely not the professionalism of the performers.

Upon reflection, it becomes clear how much of a missed opportunity this play is. It is well-executed, has a good plot (kudos to the Shelleys) and has no discernible errors. Why, then, is this play so unenjoyable?

Partially this can be attributed to the decision to not transpose any of Shelley’s powerful poetry to this play. None of the language is that of the novel – instead, it is continuously paraphrased. This is both unsuccessfully achieved and flawed even in concept. Why one would want to remove this play from her original vision is beyond me. The darkness of the original, the Miltonian poeticism, the beauty – is largely removed from this edition of the script. How sad it is to see the terrifying original be turned into a vaguely soporific tranquiliser.

However, one must return to one’s original views on the play; and so in its defence, it is rather brilliantly executed. It’s a shame that it was still so underwhelming.

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Caragh Aylett

at 21:27 on 17th Aug 2016

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It is no surprise that Mary Shelley’s masterpiece has made its way to the Fringe. With its twists, turns and graphic horror, 'Frankenstein' continues to terrify readers. This Canny Creature’s production might not put the same fear into its audience but it certainly did not disappoint.

The cast utilise the stage well, narrating the piece from the balcony to really make the best of, and lift, the small space. However, a few of the other directive decisions are strange; the time progression and setting is shown through projection. While this is creative, it appears as somewhat unnecessary and perhaps slightly amateur. Equally, the changes between scenes are slightly awkward and disrupt the flow of the piece.

The strength of ‘Frankenstein’ is in the acting. Indeed, throughout the performance it is impeccable; of particular note is the character of the monster. Although Nigel Miles-Thomas’s interpretation lacks the clumsiness and fear that, in my opinion, the monster should maintain, in other places he demonstrates an incredible ability to fully embody the character. The piece contrasts modern interpretations of the monster and instead of being acted entirely inhumanely, Miles-Thomas develops him as someone we really do feel sympathy with and the audience can begin to understand his ability to feel real human emotions. Equally, in parts we are reminded of the childlike nature of the monster in moments of sadness and of fear, for these the Miles-Thomas really must be praised.

The theme of love is woven wonderfully throughout the piece. Of course, we are faced with the monsters desire to love and be loved and his pain and anger when his wife is not created. We are also thrown into the love story of Elizabeth, Kirsty Eila McIntyre and Victor, Michael Roy Andrew, and we are convinced by Elizabeth’s feelings and how they almost mirror that of the monsters. This piece also presents the audience with another love story that differs from Mary Shelley’s plans, the love story of Elizabeth and Victor’s friend, Henry. With few words the actors develop their feelings for each other and the audience is quickly convinced of their love. Indeed, when they are placed side by side in their death it forms a fitting ending.

‘Frankenstein’ is an interesting, thoughtful and creative take on a classic. It explores the human nature of the monster and offers a piece which is elegant and sophisticated.

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