Another brilliant production from the National Theatre, Live. The concept of alternating performances, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller playing both the monster and Frankenstein, was sufficiently interesting to overcome the bad memories of a Canstage production from a couple of years back. That one was so bad, we left at the intermission. This one was so good, we wanted to give the cast a standing ovation, which is a bit silly in a movie theatre!
From the opening scene where the monster literally rips himself out of the womb, to the final trudge off stage, this was a dramatic tour de force.
Nick Dear wrote the script, based on Mary Shelley’s novel:I now feel a need to reread the book to see what was original and what came from the book. Giving the monster a voice gave the monster the humanity needed to be sympathetic. In the movies, a close-up on the monsters eyes may be enough to let you see his suffering. In a play, he needs to speak, and Dear has him speak brilliantly. He stutters and stammers as thoughts of increasing sophistication burst from his brain. He is witty, charming, pathetic, and sad. He is angry and demands justice and finally revenge.
Danny Boyle directed, using the revolving stage effectively. The lighting affects from the ceiling chandelier were as shocking as they were meant to be.
The two lead actors were brilliant. Each performance was different, but equal. The double challenge they undertook, playing both lead parts was worth the challenge to the audience in committing to see the play twice in ten days. In fact, I could happily have watched it two days running.


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
This entry was posted in benedict Cumberbatch, danny Boylr, Jonny Lee Miller, National Theatre. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Frankenstein

  1. Keith says:

    Definitely a Creature Feature.Playing "The Creature" is a much more interesting role than Frankenstein in this version, so it is a good job both lead actors got to play both roles.Both Miller and Cumberbatch were excellent (in both roles) but it is probably the production that is the real star, so kudos to Danny Boyleand mark Tildesley, the set designer – and all the other non-acting people who have such a big impact on a show, but I am too ignorant to know about.I also have to comment that National Theatre Live have, after a bit of a learning curve in the first season, got a pretty good balance between trying to make a movie and making an archival recording of a play. I wish I could have seen it live, but this was pretty good.Having seen Cumberbach as Sherlock Holmes, I'll now have to see Miller; but Lucy Liu as Watson? Open mind, Keith. Open mind.

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