Yvonne Arnaud – until 9November 2019
Reviewed by Heather Chalkley
Rona Munro has written an epic adaptation of Shelley’s novel, bringing all the angst and tumultuous emotions of the era to life. You can feel the challenge laid down by Shelley’s friend and fellow writer Byron to write the scariest story, burnt into the lines as they are delivered. In 1816 the emergence of science was growing fast and daring to question the very existence of god. Munro has captured this atmosphere through the author narrator role of Mary Shelley herself.
Eilidh Loan’s (Mary Shelley) debut performance as a professional actress is outstanding. Every emotion and movement is perfectly timed, delivering a quirky, passionate and headstrong Mary Shelley. The creative process of writing, with faltering starts and stops, romantic interludes, alongside fervent, rapid periods, is all unfolding in the performance as it hits the page, seamlessly woven into her narration. The mirroring of lines and movement between Loan (Shelley) and Ben Castle Gibb (Frankenstein) flowed like liquid, enabling her imagination to jump quickly from mind to page to stage. Castle Gibb (Frankenstein) gave an earnest performance that complemented Loan (Shelley) well. Throw in The Monster (Michael Moreland), with moments of childlike hope and yearning and then hurt and revenge, the pain was palpable.
Director Patricia Benecke and The Creatives have worked some real magic together, combining atmospheric lighting, barren trees, blank white walls and smoke to great effect. A true horror production set that enhances the menacing presence of the cast, particularly in their moments of eerie stillness. We jumped out of our skins on more than one occasion!
If you love a fright night with a classic tale told in a unique style, come and watch Eilidh Loan as Mary Shelley in Frankenstein – I would definitely go again!