The lights illuminate an empty stage with nothing but a large, veiny canvas, pulsing to the beating music. Frankenstein’s Creature emerges from the womb and crawls across the stage. He is a fully grown man, and his wretched scars crisscross his flesh. He has never walked before, nor has he ever seen anything or taken a breath. As he emerges from his womb, he stumbles on his body, writhing through the motions of life. He tumbles onto his forearms and toes, pushing himself into the air to stand, but he fails, falling again and again, crashing into the ground, and shouting out in frustration. As he falls, the thousands of light bulbs hanging over the stage flash, shocking the senses as the audience witnesses the Creature’s first moments of life.
We get to watch the Creature grow from an infant-like innocence with a curiosity of the world into a highly intellectual, deeply hurt man who emotes emphatically: The Creature shouts and leaps and fumbles as he moves through his dialogue, with spittle issuing from his mouth.
Doctor Frankenstein, on the other hand, is more refined, well-dressed, and much more accepted by society, albeit somewhat reluctantly. The Doctor nevertheless possesses the same mania that the Creature embodies.
Fathom Events Hosts National Theatre of UK innovative interpretation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
When the Creature sneaks through the set, the walls flash like sunlight hitting water on a lake. And as the Creature stalks out across the plywood bridge, it bounces on the stage as if it is bobbing in water. The illumination is entrapped by the walls, enclosing the space as though the Creature is walking into a cavern.
In this writer’s opinion, this stunning recreation and modernization of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is utterly enthralling. The set is visually simple but mechanically complex. As we watch the Creature experience weather for the first time, real rain falls from above, showering him on stage. Later, bellowing flames erupt as the Creature learns about the dangers of fire.
Frankenstein is for someone looking for a show with a visceral, terrifying mood that is enhanced by a complex set coupled with intricate lighting. If you like spectacles, beautiful set design and mechanics, and classic tales revivified, this play is for you.
Jonny Lee Miller
Writer: Nick Dear
Director: Danny Boyle
About the Author: Gwen Flatland
Gwen is a Colorado native recently relocated to Bozeman, Montana. Their forever life dream has been to be a ‘writer someday’, and most of their notebooks and her notes- app are full of half-baked narratives based on frustrations, imagination, and more often than not crazy dreams. Their favorite things are reading outside, basking in the morning sun, running on a mountain trail, and cuddling her puppy.