Review by: Paul Towers, 29 March 2017
Dr Frankenstein based on the novel by Mary Shelley, adapted by Selma Dimitrijevic
A Northern Stage & Greyscale co-production
Curve – 27 March – 1 April
“re-imagining of the classic gothic horror”
This re-imagining of the classic gothic horror makes the Doctor a woman, thus doubling the character’s feelings of being outside society. In Victorian times a woman was not supposed to have a career let alone have a mind of her own!
The impressive set, designed by Tom Piper, is a soaring collection of smoky mirrored towers hiding doors and cupboards which are revealed and then hidden by very clever lighting designed by Lizzie Powell. In the background is a nicely unobtrusive soundtrack which bursts unexpectedly into life as a storm hits and brings the monster alive.
A great cast of seven is led by Polly Frame as Doctor Victoria Frankenstein, a mixture of Maria from Sound of Music and a female Dr Who. The Monster, played by Ed Gaughan, lumbered around frightening both the cast and the audience as he struggled to make head or tail (pun intended!) of his past. Victoria Elliot as the Doctor’s level headed sister, Elizabeth, along with Donald McBride as their father, try and maintain some sense of normality in the family while Elizabeth’s beau, Henry Clerval (Scott Turbull) tries to liaise between the sisters. Libby Davison as Mary the maid and Rachel Denning as housekeeper Justine are both loyal and caring of the family.
The script had to ignore several salient aspects of the original story to enable it to be staged and the adaptor, Selma Dimitrijevic, has take the opportunity to address a couple of issues, namely the lack of female emancipation in the Victorian era and a whole debate about whether the scientific end justifies the means. This last illustrated by the Dr’s messianic delusions as the Monster is revealed to be dying from the inherent flaws in the scientific theory of reanimation.
Doctor Frankenstein is on at Curve until Saturday 1st April
Tickets available at www.curveonline.co.uk
Details of the ongoing tour are at www.northernstage.co.uk