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15 April 2011 @ 06:28 pm
Went to see Frankenstein at the National Theatre yesterday and it was everything I'd hoped it would be. The performance we saw had Johnny Lee Miller as the Creature and Benedict as Frankenstein, and I'm glad it was this way round (although if Benedict had been the Creature he'd have been onstage more and naked for ten minutes, but you can't win them all *g*).

I'll try not to slip into 'wanky Theatre Studies student' mode while I'm writing this, but forgive me if I over-analyse the play, although I've not done it since A Level it's kind of an ingrained reaction when I see a play!

I've long admired the Olivier Theatre as a space, the technical possibilities it allows are like no other space and Danny Boyle has fully utilised them for this production. Sets, lighting, sound all came together perfectly to set the audience on edge from the moment they entered the theatre and maintain it to the play's end (there was no intermission, a wise decision).

A bell hangs from the theatre ceiling which was rung by a cast member as we were filing in and it made everyone jumpy and nervous before the lights had gone down. The opening is the Creature's 'birth', which JLM played so well - not an easy thing to crawl around a stage, naked and alone for ten minutes without saying a word and still have the audience's full attention.

The lighting features a gantry suspended above the stage that has 10,000 individual light bulbs hanging from it (a nightmare for whoever has to change them, I bet!!) which was a stroke of genius. During the creature's birth it was used to show the flashes of lightning that gave him life and then the auditorium went from dim light to blinding - making the audience squint and blink just like the creature. It was used all the way through the play, almost like another character, a novel and excellent way to create lighting effects.

Johnny was truly astounding as the Creature. He evokes the childlike innocence of a being on his first day on Earth so well that I felt a great swell of joy too and yet he was equally able to be vicious and cruelly taunting in a way that was also utterly believable.

Benedict was equally good as Victor, but this seemed less of a stretch for him - a nigh-on autistic genius is something we've all seen him play in Sherlock after all. I would have loved to have seen his Creature, so I really hope that the play either tours with them both or they release it on DVD (after all it needed to be filmed for the cinema broadcast).

After the play, me and sis enjoyed The Experiment - a green cocktail with dry ice to create the classic mad scientist drink!! (I have a pic which I will try to upload from my phone if poss).

Also stopped in at the BFI and enjoyed their new Mediatheque, which is a room where anyone can walk in and spend two hours watching a selection of films from the National Archive for free. Got to watch a few things banned from TV (like, believe it or not, an episode of the Clangers!) and a rare Spike Milligan/Peter Sellers film I've never had opportunity to see before: The Running, Jumping & Standing Still Film.
bugeyedmonsterbugeyedmonster on April 15th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
I got to see it in Dallas Texas at the Angelika last night. Just before the film (broadcast?) they had interviews with Danny Boyle, BC and JLM.

I remember JLM saying that there was a lot of his two year old in the Creature. I could see it in the way the Creature struggled to walk and stand, tried to eat grass, and the way he kept asking questions of the old blind man. Also the way he repeated "Bugger off!" and "Piss off!" Just like a kid who doesn't really know what those words mean.

I also noticed in little shots of the rehearsal, that BC slouches or slumps a lot when he's not performing. I don't know why I found that so cute.

Oh, and I love that stage set up. I think there's a similar stage here in the states as they used it for Les Miserables.(sp?) (It was shown on PBS.)

It was great to see and worth the $20.

I so would have love to have seen BC as the Creature (provided my brain didn't melt into mush at the sight of him nearly nekkid.) In the interviews, BC said he studied stroke and brain injury vics who were trying to re-learn how to walk, move, talk, etc again.

So I was thinking that his Creature might have moved differently from JLM's Creature.

I so hope they put it on DVD. It would be great to see how differently BC and JLM do Frankenstein and the Creature.

Oh, I noticed that when Frankenstein was handling a gun, BC had serious gun handling!fail. He really needs some lessons in how to handle a gun as if it was a real loaded weapon. I know it's a prop and was probably not even loaded with blanks, but I kept wincing. Someone in the audience was snickering at BC's gun!fail which might have ruined the moment for some folks.

Anyway, I so need to leave my own thoughts on my LJ on this show.

I want the DVD NOW!
Kay: box robot -- i heart thissilvercobwebs on April 15th, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a total treat - I'm so glad you had such a great time! :)
The other Weird Alaeron_lanart on April 16th, 2011 12:12 pm (UTC)
Sounds great! I want one of those drinks...
birggitt: R&I - Maura & Jane handsbirggitt on April 16th, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
My, I'm so waiting for that DVD! I keep reading reports on this play, and every each one makes me more willing to watch it.
See, this is yet another of those moments when I wish I didn't live so away from... well, everything!