Frankenstein review – muscular but unsightly update has visible seams | Theater

Imitating the Dog, a company known for seamlessly blending live theater and digital invention, has been on a fascinating journey over the past four years, exploring the stories of the undead. It began in 2020 with a groundbreaking version of Night of the Living Dead, George A Romero’s definitive zombie film, and now, via Dracula (2021) and Macbeth (2023), culminates with perhaps the undead creature ultimate in this new story by Mary Shelley. extraordinary work.

But unlike the company’s previous work reanimating the dead over the past five years, here there are no live cameras on stage. You may or may not miss Imitating the Dog’s signature symbiosis between live-action and live-action filmmaking – and there’s still plenty of digital innovation to fascinate, among Hayley’s impressive set Grindle. But you’ll likely miss the narrative clarity that the company mastered in previous productions, but which is less evident this time.

Here, Shelley’s story becomes a Radio 4 drama; the navigation forecast is a fun detail that bridges our two worlds: the contemporary and life aboard the ship in Robert Walton’s novel.

Listening to the audio drama, a young couple are on the verge of creating their own lives, after unexpectedly conceiving. The anonymous couple, played with muscular physicality by Georgia-Mae Myers and Nedum Okonyia, tell their stories of expectant parents grappling with the responsibility of bringing life into the world, as well as the told tale of Victor Frankenstein doing the same.

Shelley’s story is told through choreography. Photography: Ed Waring

As a young couple, they are naturalistic – Myers in particular is an incredibly confident watch – but in Shelley’s story their style is exalted, physical. It’s an incredibly gripping piece of theater, but at times too disorienting. The story can be both too laborious and too obscure. As the young couple watch a homeless man abandoned by society, the parallels to Frankenstein’s creature seem heavy, but when Shelley’s tale is told through choreography, the story becomes a little too opaque.

As part of a body of recent work, it’s a fascinating addition, but judged on its own merits it needed to be put together a little more cohesively.

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