If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Tonight I attended a screening of the National Theatre Production of Frankenstein, adapted for stage by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle, yes that Danny Boyle. Now I say screening because I didn't go to a theatre to watch it I went to my local multi-plex as this play, at least a couple of it's performances, have been recorded and are being broadcast around the world. This isn't the first stage production to have done this but it is the first that I have attended so I thought I would write a little something about it.
The play stars, among others, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller but with a twist. The twist is that the two stars alternate the roles of Frankenstein and the Creature, not during one show but one night Benedict will be the Creature while Miller is Frankenstein and the next night the roles are swapped. The screening I attended featured Benedict as the Creature and I'm glad it did as he was the actor I was most interested in seeing and in this version of the story is very much told from the Creature's perspective. The play opens with the “birth” of the Creature which is very effective, we see him stumble around discovering the world for the first time, one of my favourite parts of the play was when we watched the Creature experience the Sun rising for the first time. His pure joy at witnessing the light and heat of the Sun for the first time was very moving.
Adapting a novel to another medium is a tricky process and in my opinion Dear and Boyle have done a very good job. There were some weak points to the show, early on there is a musical number which seems to spring out of nowhere it does serve to show the passage of time it takes for the Creature to go from the laboratory out into the real World and his bewilderment of what he finds but considering there are no other numbers it ended up seeming a little out of place. Apart from that, a strange casting choice in the supporting characters and some pacing issues I thoroughly enjoyed this version of Frankenstein. It had heart, humour, pathos, tragedy, fantastic stage design and a stand out performance by Benedict. I'm considering trying to see the alternate version of the play with Miller as the Creature and I wouldd really like to see if it end up on a feature packed DVD/BluRay.