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Halloween Countdown, Day 12

Once again for this Halloween season, National Theatre Live is offering encore performances of the brilliant Frankenstein (play by Nick Dear, directed by Danny Boyle, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternating the roles of the Creature and Frankenstein) in cinemas. To see if there's a venue near you worldwide, check the official website. I can't recommend this play highly enough.

Here is the original trailer for the play.

I have seen the performances several times. My reviews are below.

* These are my initial impressions of the Cumberbatch-as-Creature cast, including comparisons between Nick Dear's play as written and as performed.

* Here are my thoughts on the differences between the Cumberbatch-as-Creature and Miller-as-Creature casts.


Check out Frankensteinia: The Frankenstein Blog for all things related to all versions of Frankenstein!

"Paradise Lost excited different and far deeper emotions. I read it, as I had read the other volumes which had fallen into my hands, as a true history. It moved every feeling of wonder and awe that the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was capable of exciting. I often referred the several situations, as their similarity struck me, to my own. Like Adam, I was apparently united by no link to any other being in existence; but his state was far different from mine in every other respect. He had come forth from the hands of God a perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded by the especial care of his Creator; he was allowed to converse with and acquire knowledge from beings of a superior nature, but I was wretched, helpless, and alone."
- Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus

"All I wanted was your love. I could have loved you with all my heart. My poor creator."
- The Creature to Victor Frankenstein, Nick Dear's Frankenstein



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 12th, 2014 12:54 pm (UTC)
thank you for this lovely post (and the reposting of your original reviews). I've seen this two-and-a-half times (BC as creature twice, JLM once). It's so wonderful, as if Karloff et al were all this while taking giant (albeit baby) stumbling steps towards this shining bit of storytelling.

What a wonder it must have been to have been informed by being Creation one night and Creator the next.

I never thought of how the initial differences in JLM's and BC's approaches limited the later development of the Creature, but you are certainly right that JLM's approach limited what he should do in future, even what he'd do in that really pivotal scene with Elizabeth. I think everyone might understand his want for revenge, even revenge in this horrific way. And yet, given the nuanced creature he'd already been shown to be there should have been remorse, grief, an acknowledgement of the loss of his own moral virginity. As you say, BC delivered this. And all because of his initial choice.

Like you, I found no fault with either actor, was spell-bound during both productions. But a man who attended both productions with me said (after a long and quite weighty silence), "if only Cumberbatch could be BOTH roles".

Having said that, I do prefer them as BCreature and JL(really the)M(onster). When you think of it, tho, it's Cumberbatch's real niche, making sympathetic characters out of 'creatures'. Can't wait to see what he does in Richard III.
Oct. 14th, 2014 10:42 pm (UTC)
I'm so happy to hear you loved it too, and that my suggestion about JLM's and BC's approaches made sense. It sounds like we both had very similar experiences and impressions of this remarkable adaptation.

You make a great point about Cumberbatch and his real niche! That's so true. I agree about being intrigued to see what he does with the Hollow Crown production of Richard III. That first released photo is intense!
Oct. 15th, 2014 12:15 am (UTC)
he must channel all his intensity into acting, because he certainly seems a regular sort of fellow......

(although, I do get the sense of a tiger who is only enduring the cage and *winking* at the silliness of whomever might think they could contain him.....Sher Khan, as it were....)
Oct. 12th, 2014 01:12 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the encore heads-up!
Oct. 14th, 2014 10:43 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! :D I hope you'll get to enjoy it this season.
Oct. 14th, 2014 03:19 am (UTC)
I think your review was my introduction to you! Still excellent. I'm looking forward to seeing it again in a couple of weeks, whoohoo!

As ever, love your Halloween posts. :D
Oct. 14th, 2014 10:44 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you so much! :D And happy re-viewing!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )