Frankenstein – A Quick Capsule Theatre Review

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein could well be one of the most adapted, reworked and referenced stories of all time.  From literary and radio to TV and film, from serious to comedic, from horror to spoof... there is a long and storied history of adaptations of this seminal and much enjoyed text (fun fact: over 100 alone in film an TV).  The latest of these adaptations arrives this week at Eastbourne's Devonshire Park Theatre (part of a new 14 week tour) in the form of a theatrical revival of the well regarded 2016 production produced by the renowned Blackeyed Theatre. Frankenstein takes us back to Geneva in 1816, telling the story of student Victor Frankenstein, a man whose obsession in the pursuit of the elixir of life will lead him to a life and death adventure across the ends of the earth and beyond...

I really enjoyed this gothic horror - a disturbing, haunting and powerful production and one that will live with you long after you have left the theatre.  Truly this is a theatre production unlike any I have seen before.  The first thing that stuck me was just how talented the cast were - playing multiple roles, puppeteering, creating the haunting music and sound... truly impressive stuff.  But as you'd imagine (and no doubt hope) the star of the show is, of course,  Frankenstein's monster, a full realised creature who is brought to life here as a bunraku puppet (think War Horse or The Lion King), with an anatomy created by twisted rope that quite horrifically echos skinless muscle and bone.  The creature is scarily effective for sure but it's the haunting voice and movements created by the talented cast that really make this monster one of theatres more memorable creations - a tormented, anguished soul lost and abandoned in a cold cruel world.

Frankenstein is a story that touches on themes of loss, love, ego and ambition and one that is never less than engaging over its 2 hour run time. A dark, heartbreaking, powerful and unsettling production which manages to be genuinely scary at times and compelling so that your eyes never want to drift from the stage.   Fan's of Mary Shelley's original text will relish this smartly staged reinterpretation whilst everyone else will sit uneasy as they ponder which one really is the monster...

Starring: Robert Bradley, Billy Irving, Alice E Mayer, Max Gallagher, Benedict Hastings.  Directed by Eliot Giuralarocca

Frankenstein is currently performing at The Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne until 19th March 2022 and then touring across the UK.