@Greenwich & Touring
Reality Rating: 4/5
Fidget Factor: 0.4
Terrifying and Gentle
Frankenstein climbs aboard a Captain’s ship in the North Pole, frozen and tired from his long journey where he has been searching for the monster he once abandoned. Blackeyed Theatre have reimagined Mary Shelley’s legendary tale of Frankenstein, with a mixture of storytelling, music and puppetry that makes this tale feel brand new.
Thundering drums, whizzing metal loops and rattles – music adds spirit, tension and excitement to this production. Creating images of crashing waves, vast rivers and digging for bodies.
Yvonne Stone’s Bunraku style puppet of the monster is beautifully constructed, echoing the same elements found in the ship wreck set. Twisted rope, with veins of red and ghostly, ocean blue eyes; Frankenstein’s monster is both terrifying and gentle. One of my all time favourite productions is His Dark Materials that played at the National Theatre in 2004, a production which opened my eyes to just how epic theatre could be – Yvonne Stone created the bears for that magical show, it’s great to see her work once again.
The cast have mastered the intricate movements needed to bring Frankenstein’s monster to life. Slowly drawing his legs up each time he walks, and bowing his head in curiosity; three puppeteers working together to give the monster voice, sound and emotion. Louis Labovitch’s main voice for the monster is eloquent yet still learning, groaning and breathy, it is easy to believe this monster hasn’t been in the human world for very long.
Energetic and charismatic, Max Gallagher plays several roles – funniest of all, the bumbling Professor with a quirky lisp. As Henry Clerval, Gallagher obtains the audiences trust through his charm and shows us the emotional, caring side to Frankenstein; beyond the erratic and stubborn traits he displays most of the time. Lara Cowin plays sweet Elizabeth Lavenza, a key role in this adaptation as Lavenza remains in the real world, facing tragedy and loss rather than running away with imagination and ambition. Director, Eliot Giuralarocca has ensured movement is as important as the storytelling of this production. In addition to the puppetry, the cast are heavily physical in their approach to this piece, falling and twisting in to new scenes.
At over two hours long, this production could be cut down to an enjoyable 90 minutes. Parts of the story are drawn out, and the constant retelling of Frankenstein wanting to be alone isn’t necessary.
With further development, this production would work well on one of the stages of the National Theatre. Until then, find out where Frankenstein storms to next on their UK tour.
Last time Scatter encountered Bunraku
puppetry was in The Woodsman, playing in
New York in 2016 – check out the frightening
Wicked Witch of the West.
Click for Tix: @Greenwich
▦ Photos – Courtesy of Alex Harvey-Brown
Time: 125 minutes including an interval – wrap up warm, Greenwich theatre is FREEZING!
Running: 25 JAN 17 ► 22 MAR 17
♥ Thank you to Alex Shaw @ChloeNelkin for the invite
♥ Thank you to Greg for the Frankenstein Illustration
25th Jan Bridge House Theatre, Warwick – 7.30pm
26th – 27th Jan New Theatre Royal, Lincoln – 7.30pm Thursday, 1.30pm Friday
31st Jan – 1st Feb Norwich Playhouse, Norwich – 7.30pm (+ 2.30pm Tues, 1pm Wed)
2nd – 4th Feb Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate – 7.30pm (+ 2.30pm Saturday)
7th – 11th Feb Greenwich Theatre, Greenwich – 7.30pm (+ 1.30pm Wed, 2.30pm Sat)
13th – 15th Feb Malvern Theatres, Malvern – 7.30pm (+ 2pm Wednesday)
17th – 18th Feb Lichfield Garrick, Lichfield – 7.30pm
21st Feb Civic Theatre, Chelmsford – 7.45pm
22nd Feb EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge – 7.30pm
23rd Feb Cornerstone, Didcot – 7.30pm
24th Feb Sandpit Theatre, St Albans – 7.30pm
27th – 28th Feb Auden Theatre, Holt – 7.30pm Monday, 2pm Tuesday
1st March Key Theatre, Peterborough – 7.30pm
3rd – 4th March Carriageworks, Leeds – 7.30pm
7th – 9th March Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds – 7.30pm (+ 2pm Wednesday)
10th March The Broadway, Barking – 7.30pm
11th March Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury – 7.30pm
14th – 15th March Town Hall, Loughborough – 7pm Tuesday, 2pm Wednesday
16th March Grand Theatre, Lancaster – 7.30pm
18th March Town Hall, Bishop Aukland – 7.30pm
21st – 22nd March Lighthouse, Poole – 7.45pm