Review: Frankenstein

Frankenstein, with Lindel Hart
Frankenstein, with Lindel Hart
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IN his blood-stained lab coat, this Victor Frankenstein initially appears more butcher than doctor.

* * * *

Greenside, Infirmary Street

First impressions, however, can be deceptive.

Nevertheless, it’s a brutal image and a precursor to the equally difficult birth of his Creature, cobbled together with body parts salvaged from selected cadavers.

That birth is at first obscured by a ripped hanging gauze, which also provides a surface for Albanian artist Florian Canga’s exquisite projected backdrop.

Atmospheric and mesmerising this is a powerful opening scene that perfectly compliments an effective soundscape.

So, with deafening storm and bolts of lightening crackling through the atmosphere, it’s an all out assault on the senses as the Creature stumbles from his gathered-gauze womb.

In a production this rich in symbolism, Lindel Hart’s sparse script allow his focus to be on the physicality of the Creature, which he also plays.

From birth, through rejection and abuse, Hart’s Creature howls with hurt and murderous rage, forever seeking a connection with his ‘father’.

It’s a brave, physical performance from the American.

As Frankenstein, Colin J Allen captures the madness of genius and the desperation of the deluded, while flitting between other roles.

The ghost of Mary Shelley, meanwhile, hovers in the background, played with etherial ease by Jane Williams. At her writing desk she brings each chapter of the story to life.

A tale of transformation, from Creature to Monster, this production seeks to highlight parallels with the devastation man is currently reeking on the planet.

It’s a message that can be lost in the sheer theatricality of the staging (with nudity and sexual violence it’s not suitable for kids), including some expertly executed shadow play.

Directed with a light touch by Linda McInerney Old Deerfield Productions’ reworking of Shelley’s Gothic masterpiece is a snappy bite of theatre that, as the Creature himself declares, shows what happens when the Fallen Angel becomes the malignant devil.

Until August 22