Disappointing script fails to bring Frankenstein to life in Malvern

AT A TIME when the artistic world is crying out for more acclaim for women in the arts, a new version of a classic written by a woman and directed and designed by women should be welcomed. Especially when the plot concerns a female writer tackling the male dominated arena of gothic drama.

I refer to the latest rewrite of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Rona Munro. Unfortunately the monster, which has scared us for decades, has got somewhat murdered rather than lost in translation.

Munro has Mary Shelley writing her monster mash on stage – and there in lays the rub. There is confliction between the tale of her writing and the tale itself so that what starts off as an interesting concept with a few humorous asides descends all too quickly into tediousness.

Not that Eilidh Loan isn’t good as Mary Shelley, she puts in a fine performane; no, the fault is in the pretentious over-writing.

Picture by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan. s

Loan is supported by a cast that do as they have been directed by Patricia Benecke and it is not their fault that it is hard to care about their individual or collective journeys.

The set and costumes by Becky Minto are stark black and white. A double-storey building where the actors climb white trees to reach the upper level is clever but confining. Everything is done in small spaces. It’s like looking into an open dolls house, but without the wonderment.

Coming on the heels of some excellent stage Frankenstein’s in recent years sadly this version pales into insignificance. Theatre should make us suspend belief and leave us screaming for more, not begging for mercy.

Storm Brendon, which raged as we left the theatre was far more scary.

Tickets range from £17.92 to £34.72.

Call the box office on 01684 892277 or click here for more information and tickets.


Review by Euan Rose.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *