"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Friday, November 02, 2012
Shelley's Modern Prometheus very much in the spotlight this
Halloween, and I don't just mean Frankenweenie … He's the classic
serial on Radio 4, Channel 4 are carrying a documentary about the
National Theatre Production and Writtle Cards are reviving the stage
version by America's most prolific playwright.
Kelly's 1974 Frankenstein retains much of the philosophical meat of
the original, the Milton and the Coleridge,
though liberties are taken with the characters and the plot.
There's some clunky dialogue, ["maybe he
won't show up"], and the most bathetic curtain line you could
wish for, fluffed, very understandably, the night I saw it: "We'll
get some shovels from the greenhouse". All six scenes are
set in the study in the Château, beginning and ending with Victor's
wedding night. So Ireland, England, Orkney and Geneva are all
shoe-horned into these three walls, and much of the story unfolds
through narrative and reminiscence, much of the passion, guilt and
fear in flashback. Key here is the childhood friend and confidant
Clerval, played by Kenton Church.
scientist is strongly delineated by Nick Caton, holding the audience
with his intense, passionate speeches. The Creature, too, with his
"complete mastery of speech", [Neil Smith] impresses with
his stillness and his dignity. Dramatic contrast with these
heightened emotions from Sarah Wilson's down-to-earth Elizabeth,
Daniel Curley's brutal police inspector and Megan Hill's timid maid.
Frau Frankenstein [spared the scarlet fever in this version] is given
a lively characterization, and the only Swiss accent, by Liz Curley.
And Clare Williams made the most of the wronged Justine, who might
just cheat death in this open-ended adaptation. Leave
room for the sequel – Kelly himself also gave us Frankenstein Slept
Here and Frankensteins Are Back In Town.
production would have benefited from more consistency in the choice
of music, and in the furnishings of Frankenstein's study. But there
were many deft touches, two of them involving the skeleton standing
stage left throughout, and some enjoyably melodramatic moments.
was directed by Michelle Moody, and produced by Laura Bennett.