If you ever had to read Mary Shelley’s classic novel “Frankenstein” in high school and you’re anything like me when it comes to assigned readings, you probably trudged along through it missing detail after detail and attempted to watch one of the several movie adaptations to get a general idea of the story. But would you ever think to go see a play about it instead?
The National Theatre here in London is currently running a production of the new play “Frankenstein,” written by Nick Dear and directed by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “127 Hours”). I saw the play Monday night and thought it was the most striking rendition of the classic Frankenstein/Creature tale I’ve ever seen. Boyle definitely adopted the ever-popular “Go big or go home” mantra with this production and the spectacular lighting and set design blurs the lines between cinematic splendor and theatrical spectacle. But just like any play, it wasn’t without its faults (a fairly weak script and some lackluster supporting characters among other points). Don’t just take my word for it, though. You can actually see this production at a movie theater near you.
As it does with many of its shows, The National will be screening the play to cinemas across the world in March and April and Cinemopolis is one of the hundreds of theaters included. For Ithaca students studying in Los Angeles, The Downtown Independent Theatre will be screening the show three times as well.
What makes this production particularly unique is the casting convention between the two leads, Frankenstein and The Creature. Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternate playing the two roles every night, so audience members in London are encouraged to come back for seconds (a nice boost to the box office, no doubt). The same goes for the screenings, which will show both alternations. I saw Cumberbatch as Frankenstein and Miller as The Creature and judging by some reviews, that seems to be the preferred pairing.
But see for yourself…and send me a comment about who you think is better in which part!