‘a sight to behold’
With so many adaptations and parodies of Frankenstein, Arrows and Traps Theatre Company had it all to do on the Night. And with an audience who might have commenced the rigorous costume shopping for Halloween, there was an expectation to see something mysterious, unorthodox and above all scary. Ross McGregor’s adaptation of Mary Shelly’s famous Novel which celebrates its 200-year anniversary, was simply a sight to behold!
For the first time, to my knowledge, Frankenstein was staged with the story of Victor, the Monster and Mary Shelley all beautifully interweaved. Yes, it was a three hander! All three stories made up a night full of unexpected humour, family feuds and plain old-fashioned horror.
Walking into the theatre it felt like we had been teleported into a Gothic camp, with a mood that created anticipation even before the play began. It commenced ingeniously with the story of Mary who was yet to marry poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, to then become Mary Shelley as we now know. Hats off to Ross McGregor for journeying the audience through the life of the author whose world is evidently mirrored to that of her creation. Seeing her world unfold, shed light on her unexpected sources of inspiration and reveals why Frankenstein remains a classic.
Ross McGregor’s keen eye on strong interrelationships between performer and audience is what makes him a stand out director. There seemed to be a lot of attention to detail especially with the costumes which were flawless. Curator Kate Dorney explains in an article that ‘stage costumes may seem to be considered clothes, while a chair on stage is never seen as just a chair, but is routinely understood as part of the scenography’. In this production however, the actors seem to understand their bodies and made their costumes a part of their individual stories. Nothing was left to chance.
Will Pinchin, playing the Creature was exceptional and a delight to watch. Will had a difficult job of not over playing a very complex character but also staying true to its purpose. He had the emotions of the audience in the palm of his hand and his relationship with blind Agatha played by the talented Zoe Dales, was ravishing to say the least. Zoe Dales was gracious in her performance and totally took my breath away with her subline take on her character. Christopher Tester, strolled through the play with so much confidence, I had to pinch and remind myself he wasn’t a real scientist.
Every actor earned their right to be on that stage with a stellar ensemble work accompanied by a production team whose creativity left me booking tickets to see it again.
Frankenstein is currently showing at the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre from the 26th of September to the 21st of October 2017. It will then move to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre from the 2nd -4th of December 2017.
Adapted and Directed by Rodd McGregor
Presented by Arrows and Traps
Brockley Jack Theatre, Tues 26 September to Sat 21 October 2017 at 7.45pm
Box Office: 01483 44 00 00
Reviewer Jesse Ayertey is the Artistic Director of East London Shakespeare Company and also works with Rebirth Management as an Agent. Jesse who is also an actor, is very passionate about theatre and works with local drama groups in Stratford, London.