Sunday, April 3, 2011

Frankenstein, National Theater Live via Third Rail (Grade A)

Director: Danny Boyle
new play by Nick Dear--based on the novel by Mary Shelly
cast: Benedict Cumberbatch/Johnny Miller  ---- Frankenstein/The Creature these two actors alternate roles every other play

other cast members include: Ella Smith; John Killoran; Steven Elliot; Lizzie Winkler; Karl Johnson; Daniel Miller; Naomie Harris; George Harris; Haydon Downing; Wm Nye; Jared Richards; Danial Ings; Martain Chamberlain; Mark Armstrong; John Stahl; Andreea Padurariu; Josie Daxter

sez says: world class performance by Cumberbatch as 'The Creature' --and what we could see of the staging, it looked brilliant.  It really made you want to see the show in person. It was clear that the cameras could not fully convey the experience of being in the room. It was almost, but not quite, good enough to want to go back and see it again with Miller as The Creature, to see how he explored The Creature's character.
The telling of the story is from The Creature's perspective. And in making it such a lot of philosophical questions were posed.  Maybe a few too many.  I love drama that makes you think --but this was an unfocused case, with lots of questions asked.  What is creator? What is the relationship between creator and created (us and God)?  What is a parent and what are a parent's responsibility -- (much was made of the abandonment of a child.)  Is humanity doomed by its own actions?  What is paradise?  What is our relationship with science and knowledge? Are we moving ahead or backward -and is our only real motivation --underlying all that we do --to destroy what we have created ? -- and on and on the questions were posed.  I never thought I'd say this:  It got to be a bit too much.  Some focus would have helped--but still, it was a masterful bit of work and it is easy to recommend.

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