Frankenstein Blackeyed 7

Frankenstein: Lighthouse, Poole (Tuesday 21st March 2017)

All credit to Blackeyed Theatre for creating this wonderful 200th anniversary production of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  Ignoring the standard Hollywood/Hammer Horror take on this Gothic masterpiece, it draws directly from Shelley’s original story. What emerges is considerably more poignant, more telling and more thought-provoking than the bolt-through-the-neck monster-fest that has for so long been hard-wired into the public's imagination.

Adapted for the stage by John Ginman, the play finds scientist Victor Frankenstein (Ben Warwick) re-living the events leading up to a final showdown with the creature he has given life to but then rejected.

It explores the dangers of unbridled ambition, the corrosive effect of loneliness and the destructive nature of bigotry, prejudice and blind-hatred. It also examines the need to take responsibility for ones actions.

For Victor Frankenstein has been driven by the dream of discovering the elixir of life and taking control of nature. In a series of secret experiments he uses human and animal body parts to construct a living being. When he doesn’t like the end result he abandons what he sees as a hideous and deformed creature with terrible consequences.

Using an impressive Japanese Bunraku style puppet as the creature -controlled by various  cast members and voiced to great effect by Louis Labovitch - we learn something about blame and revenge.

With Max Gallagher and Lara Cowin as Victor’s loyal friends Henry and Elizabeth and Ashley Sean-Cook as the sea captain he tells his tale to, this is a fine production with a talented cast.

An impressive stage design by Victoria Spearing, lighting by Charlotte McClelland and any eerie percussive score combine to underline moments of hope, tension and pathos.

Mary Shelley was just 19-years-old when she wrote this astonishing story in 1816. Where better to see this stunning stage version than somewhere like Poole just a few miles from her grave in St Peter’s Churchyard in Bournemouth?

*Frankenstein completes its two night run at Lighthouse tomorrow evening, Wednesday 22nd March.

Jeremy Miles

© Jeremy Miles 2022