Danny Boyle’s production of Frankenstein is a multisensory feast of the senses that envelops you immediately as you enter from the lobby to the auditorium of the Olivier Theatre. Seen here at the world-renown National Theatre in a packed matinee yesterday, this creature is surprisingly filled with humanly depths. Two lead actors alternate between the roles of The Creature and Victor Frankenstein. At this particular performance, British thespians Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller respectively played The Creature and Victor.
Both were extremely adept in their characterizations, especially Cumberbatch. In the evocative opening sequence that served as the prologue, Cumberbatch revealed himself au naturel as The Creature with a bravura series of agile movements and guttural noises. Discovering the earthly environments for the first time like a newborn, he retracts and delights from seeing birds in flight, the beautiful setting of a sunrise and the refreshing feeling of being in a rainstorm in the nude. Although horrifying initially as this ghastly science experiment roams the outside streets, this Creature eventually learns to feel emotionally as well as gaining intellectual insight.
The lighting (Bruno Poet), production design (Mark Tildesley) and music and sound design (Underworld) elements all came together in such brilliantly transcendent fusion. Boyle and his theatrical design team has conceived of this production a cinematic and theatrical event. Adapted from the classic Mary Shelley story, Nick Dear instills the script with high tension throughout, yet a touch of sadness permeates the conclusion. The momentum is sustained without the use of an interval. An engaging two-hour running time, the play benefits by being a single act.
Frankenstein @ The National Theatre, London, UK