Sunday, 25 March 2018

Frankenstein, Royal Exchange Manchester 24/3/18

I’m not good with horror or frights of any kind. I’m often scared of my own shadow and on heading for the Royal Exchange’s latest production, Frankenstein, I was a little concerned that I might have to hide behind one of the banquettes if it all got a bit too much for me. I needn’t have worried.

Whilst the dark design of this latest production is effective, especially the blocking of the walls of the theatre space to allow for regular ‘blackouts’ in an attempt to ramp up the tension, and a simple but effective staging, I found this show to be strangely unmoving .

There were some good performances, Ryan Gage as Captain Waldran had great stage presence and gave a nicely balanced performance. Harry Attwell as the Creature conjured sympathy for his plight, the most memorable scene being his time observing and learning from a family in the woods and his eventual rejection. Whilst he played the victim well, I found this character less convincing when he took his revenge having been betrayed. And Colin Ryan (Henry / Felix / Prosecutor) seemed like an actor to watch in the future. 

The choices made in the portrayal of Victor Frankenstein made him almost seem weak. I found myself not really caring one way or the other about what happened to him or his loved ones (just occasionally wishing that they would happen a bit faster!) 

All in all I found this a bit of an underwhelming performance. Little tension, not at all scary, and not very engaging or memorable.

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