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BWW Review: FRANKENSTEIN at Little Theatre Of Mechanicsburg

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The perfect show for the Halloween season

BWW Review: FRANKENSTEIN at Little Theatre Of Mechanicsburg

Autumn brings crisp air, changing leaves, apple cider, and the Halloween season. This season has a way of sparking the imagination and has inspired books, movies, and plays. Some classic works, like Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, have become a staple of the season. Frankenstein, as it's commonly known, has inspired numerous TV, film, and stage adaptations. The story explores a number of intriguing questions: What makes humans human? What makes an entity evil or good? How far should science go in unraveling the mysteries of life and death? How should humans use their knowledge? Little Theatre of Mechanicsburg invites audiences to their production of Frankenstein by Philip Grecian under the direction of Bobby Zaccano now through October 31.

This production of Frankenstein is presented in the style of an old-timey radio show, complete with sound effects, words from a sponsor, and a radio announcer. The show takes the audience back in time to 1938 and draws them into WLTM radio's studio audience. This presentation is an unique and fascinating way to experience the world of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The actors have the challenge of engaging the audience solely through their voices and facial expressions, and the cast at LTM faces this challenge head on.

Gretchen Ray has one of the more difficult parts to play as an adult-that of Catherine Frankenstein-Victor's younger sister. Ray's demeanor and voice are perfect for the role, particularly when she emphasizes the young girl's exuberance and impatience. Essa Dinges, in addition to being one of the Foley Artists, takes on the role of Baroness Frankenstein. She does a lovely job with her performance of the Baroness's grief and distress over the death of her daughter and the accusation of Justine.

The roles of Announcer and Professor Waldman are taken on by Andy Isaacs. Isaacs is delightful in the role of Professor Waldman-portraying the professor as even-keeled and wise. One of my favorite characters in the classic tale is DeLacey-the kind blind man who teaches The Creature how to speak and read. David Hurlbert, who also plays Captain Walton, gives a heartwarming performance as DeLacey, and his interactions with The Creature bring the scene to life.

Mandi L. Hurley is poised and gracious in her role as Elizabeth, Victor's fiancée. She really shines in her final scene with Victor following their wedding. The role of Justine Moritz, Catherine's governess, is played by Mary Geraci. Geraci highlights Justine's dedication to the Frankenstein family and her love for Catherine with wonderful authenticity, and her performance in the prison scene is truly engaging.

A.J. Rhoads, Charles Miller, and Daniel Bixler round out the cast as Henry Clerval, The Creature, and Victor Frankenstein. Rhoads, Miller, and Bixler infuse the story with great energy and emotion. Rhoads and Bixler perform beautifully together. Rhoads portrays Henry's uncertainty and concern over Victor's plans perfectly. Bixler's performance as Victor is flawless. His excitement for his experiment, determination to see it through, and ambition to create and control life comes through in Bixler's every word and action on stage. The Creature is a role that requires a balance of intensity and nuance, and Charles Miller handles it brilliantly. His performance in the scene where he learns about his creator and in the final scenes in which he delivers monologues about hope, vengeance, and love is heart-wrenching.

In addition to the terrific cast, one of the most fascinating parts of the show are the sound effects, performed by Foley Artists Essa Dinges and Anthony J. Geraci. Being able to see how they make the sounds adds so much to the total experience of the show. Their timing is precise and helps to create just the right atmosphere for the show.

Frankenstein at Little Theatre of Mechanicsburg is the perfect show for this time of year, so visit www.ltmpa.com for your tickets to see Frankenstein before it's too late!


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From This Author Andrea Stephenson