When Linda and I were in the movie theater to watch "Young Frankenstein", we saw an ad for Nick Dear's "Frankenstein", starring Benedict Cumberbatch, at the National Theater, via Fathom Events. We immediately turned to each other and agreed to go together, so when I got home, I bought our tickets right away.
The show was prefaced by some making-of clips, which showed that the two leads sometimes played each other's parts. Our showing was of Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature, with Jonny Lee Miller as Dr. Frankenstein. They also showed Mary Shelley's actual manuscript of the novel, and I was not happy that the dude was touching the pages with his bare hands instead of using gloves.
- The set was incredible, with the center portion of the stage rotating between scenes, and a beautiful chandelier of thousands of light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, to give the feeling of the era when electricity was the most significant discovery of the time.
- The opening scene is of the creature adapting to the world as he comes to life, learning how to control his body, eventually learning to stand and walk. There is no dialogue in this scene until the doctor discovers that his experiment worked, and immediately shuns the creature out of fear.
- Eventually, after learning a little bit of speech and being cruelly treated in the streets, the creature finds a blind man, whom is alone in a cabin while his family is out in the fields during the day. Linda and I simultaneously remembered one of my favorite scenes from "Young Frankenstein" and couldn't keep from giggling when this scene started. For those that are not remembering what I'm writing about, it's the scene wherein the monster visits blind man Gene Hackman and Hackman pours soup onto his lap. Love that scene.
- In this play, though, the blind man educates the creature, teaching him all kinds of culture and philosophy. The transformation is at times humorous, and overall incredible.
- Horrifying events occur after this enlightenment, though, because the blind man's family comes back and the creature is again treated like a monster. I mean, it IS a horror novel, so stuff does happen and it's not pretty.
- This is why you should treat people kindly, even though they're different from you. That's my take on this story, anyway.
- Cumberbatch is AMAZING. I love watching genuine actors in genuinely meaty roles.
- Miller is also quite good, although I am glad that we saw BC's version of the creature, because the doctor isn't in most of the first half of the play.
- This makes me want to watch BC in "Hamlet" again, although I won't do so in the coming week when that will be aired again.
Next up: BC again, but this time as Dr. Strange!