Frankenstein at the Royal Exchange Manchester
With ongoing debate around the advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the potential to create a ‘human’ robot, The Royal Exchange’s latest production could not be more topical. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein may have been published 200 years ago, but resonates with the concerns of creating artificial life in a modern world.
For April De Angelis brand-new adaptation, the press release invites us to step inside Victor Frankenstein’s nightmare. Ben Stones’ excellent design does not disappoint and forces us right into the disturbing world of Shelley’s novel. You know it will get dark…very dark…by the fact the theatre is shrouded in black out drapes. Indeed, every subsequent blackout is accompanied by nervous giggles from the audience.
Frankenstein is a dark psychological tale. Whilst one man’s ambition is to conquer the North Pole, the other’s is a fascination with death and the creation of new life. Captain Walton (Ryan Gage) ably recounts his tale of adventure, whilst witnessing the horror of Victor Frankenstein’s story. Shane Zaza successfully portrays the madness/genius of the Doctor, however both actors need to project more to avoid their words being lost. The creature, often erroneously referred to as Frankenstein, is not the monster of black and white films; bit rather a tortured soul looking for love and acceptance. Harry Atwell is superb as the unfortunate victim of Doctor Frankenstein’s ambition, a character we initially find unnerving, but ultimately have empathy for.
Matthew Xia’s pacey production is genuinely creepy, unnerving, and makes the most of this atmospheric theatre space.
Royal Exchange Theatre: Mar 9th- Apr 14th 2018