I love National Theatre Live. I love that it’s not live anymore. I love that I saw Danny Boyle and Nick Dear’s ‘Frankenstein’ for a third time! Here’s my review again from 2012! With some 2014 revisions.
This production is absolutely incredible. It is a piece of theatre that is going to change the way people see ‘Frankenstein’. Nick Dear’s writing and Danny Boyle’s direction are able to take the audience on a journey with the Creature, finally giving him a voice, logic, reason and a certain amount of tolerance. They take all of the clichés and expectations of any production of Mary Shelley’s novel and beat them to death with a large stick. No-one utters “It’s Alive!” But I do adore them for embracing the Halloween cliche with this timeless gothic horror.
The beginning may seem inexplicably sporadic and incoherent, but that is how the Creature is experiencing the world for the first time. The joy of the grass, the sensation of rain and the beauty of a sun rise, all things that humans have taken for granted. The natural world is stunning, and though the train’s construction and ensemble’s movements to create it were mind blowing, the industrial era in which the novel is set, is dirty and unwelcoming. I forgot how good the music is!And so begins the Creature’s exile and his search for his creator, Frankenstein.
Now for the difficult question, who was better? Who is the best Frankenstein? Who was the best Creature? The third time, I saw Cumberbatch as The Creature. There is no comparison. I still can’t pick a favourite.They are two of the finest actors currently working and they both give equally incredible, flawless, captivating performances. There will never be enough synonyms in the world to accurately express their abilities as actors. Yes, I’m a little in love with both of them (a little has grown to a lot) which is why I want to drag them away from American Cinema (‘Star Trek 2’ and ‘Dark Shadows’, no J.J. Abrams and Tim Burton you can’t keep them!) and put them back on British stages where they belong. Cumberbatch can do ‘Sherlock’ but that is all! I’ll give Millar a chance to be Sherlock. Playing the same role again, they’re like twins! I fucking adore Elementary!
Obviously, ‘Frankenstein’ was
last year THREE YEARS AGO so wasn’t technically live, but having never seen the play in the flesh, I’ m more inclined to say that the recording was better. Rather, having the performance filmed worked in its favour. NT Live is a multi-camera recording, much like a football match. It can focus in on every emotion or give wide angles for epic moments. But it also gave angles that live audiences might never have seen such as overhead, which gave the NT Live audience a better view of the opening moments when the Creature is discovering his body.
This is a bold statement, but a justified statement: this is The Production of the Decade STILL TRUE! Nothing has had me captivated like Dear’s words, Boyle’s vision, and Cumberbatch and Millar’s raw talent.
And it was so nice to see it with my friends, there was seven of us three rows from the front. My friends were speechless, that is something that never happens.