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Live broadcast of Frankenstein at UK’s National Theatre held in Cavendish

From the moment the play opens with a throbbing red-veined membrane issuing forth a fully-grown grotesquely mutilated creature, the violent, chilling gothic of Mary Shelley’s original novel fully engulfs the audience.  I had the opportunity to see this piece live at the National Theatre last month and still have frissons each time I recall Jonny Lee Miller’s rendition of the tortured creature.

In a brilliant directorial move, Danny Boyle (director of Slumdog Millionaire) casts Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch each in alternating roles as both the creature and the creature’s creator, Dr Frankenstein. In doing so, Boyle plays up Mary Shelley’s original themes exploring the blurring of man and monster, and the line between creator and creature.

The staging is equally brilliant and the sound and sight of hundreds of light bulbs buzzing and spinning above stage offer a fitting metaphor for the electrical impulses that gave life to Frankenstein’s monster.

The acting is extremely well wrought, and the role of the creature is an incredibly physically demanding one; Jonny Lee Miller’s convulsions upon birth make one’s own body curl with pain. The play’s only weak point lay in the acting of Naomie Harris, who plays Dr Frankenstein’s intended bride. Harris was unable to encompass either the role’s sexual subtleties nor the intensity of compassion that is called for by Mary Shelley’s depiction of the character.

One final note: the main character is seen naked in the play’s opening scenes and the piece is not suitable for younger viewers.

A live HD broadcast by London’s Royal National Theatre will be showing at Cavendish Nouveau, Lower Level, Cavendish Square, Claremont on 9, 10, 13 and 14 April at 7:45pm.  

Venue: Cavendish Nouveau, Lower Level, Cavendish Square, Claremont
When: 9,10, 13 & 14 Apr @ 7.45pm   Cost: R 120
Contact: www.ntlive.com

Erin Russell Thiessen / Expatica

*images use with permission of the National Theatre