BWW Review: FRANKENSTEIN, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
This UK tour of Frankenstein is a new adaptation of the gothic classic which has been written for the stage by Rona Munro.
This bold new telling puts Mary Shelley at the heart of the story as she fleshes out her novel and narrates the story. It's a brilliant concept but unfortunately it doesn't quite work. Mary (played by Eilidh Loan) interrupts the story throughout and her intensity comes across as manic and quite frankly, annoying. Any atmosphere that is built from the original tale as it plays out on stage, is soon squashed by Mary's cocky and shrill input.
The cast of seven play a variety of roles which became a little confusing in places and made the play feel quite frantic. The plot of Frankenstein gets lost among the chaos and becomes a bit of a muddled retelling.
While it was definitely an interesting idea to tell this story from Shelley's perspective, it trivialises the novel. You don't have the time to connect to the Frankenstein story as every time tension is built onstage, Mary comes on to screech "it's been a while since anyone has died!". Any subtlety about themes of the patriarchy is lost as Mary explains every detail of what she was trying to portray in her writing.
On a more positive note, Becky Minto's set is perfect for this production. It's simple, but spooky and the actors use every inch of the bleak space. Grant Anderston's lighting design is delightfully eerie and works well with the subject of Shelley's novel.
The staging of Frankenstein certainly looks good and the cast try hard but ultimately this production doesn't quite achieve what it sets out to.
Frankenstein runs at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow until 30 November.