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Frankenstein, Based on the Novel by Mary Shelley

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All I ask is the possibility of love! Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein's bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, and increasingly desperate and vengeful, he determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal. I followed nature into her lair, and str All I ask is the possibility of love! Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein's bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, and increasingly desperate and vengeful, he determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal. I followed nature into her lair, and stripped her of her secrets! I brought torrents of light to a darkening world! Is that wrong? Urgent concerns of scientific responsibility, parental neglect, cognitive development and the nature of good and evil are embedded within this thrilling and deeply disturbing classic gothic tale. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, adapted for the stage by Nick Dear, premiered at the National Theatre, London, in February 2011.


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All I ask is the possibility of love! Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein's bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, and increasingly desperate and vengeful, he determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal. I followed nature into her lair, and str All I ask is the possibility of love! Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein's bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, and increasingly desperate and vengeful, he determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal. I followed nature into her lair, and stripped her of her secrets! I brought torrents of light to a darkening world! Is that wrong? Urgent concerns of scientific responsibility, parental neglect, cognitive development and the nature of good and evil are embedded within this thrilling and deeply disturbing classic gothic tale. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, adapted for the stage by Nick Dear, premiered at the National Theatre, London, in February 2011.

30 review for Frankenstein, Based on the Novel by Mary Shelley

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kenny

    An incredible adaption!

  2. 4 out of 5

    William Gwynne

    A great play adaption of the classic story of Frankenstein

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tristram Shandy

    An Even More Modern Prometheus It’s been a long time since I last read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and so I do feel doubtful about comparing her novel with Nick Dear’s adaptation for the stage, although my dim recollections of that 1818 masterpiece prompt me that there are some differences that should be mentioned. For a start, whereas Mary Shelley tells the story mainly from the perspective of Victor Frankenstein (as reported by the captain of the ship which saves Frankenstein), Nick Dear gives An Even More Modern Prometheus It’s been a long time since I last read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and so I do feel doubtful about comparing her novel with Nick Dear’s adaptation for the stage, although my dim recollections of that 1818 masterpiece prompt me that there are some differences that should be mentioned. For a start, whereas Mary Shelley tells the story mainly from the perspective of Victor Frankenstein (as reported by the captain of the ship which saves Frankenstein), Nick Dear gives us the point of view of the Monster from the very start, which makes us more ready to sympathize with the Creature – at least for the first part of the play – and to look askance at Frankenstein himself. In the course of the play, it becomes more and more obvious that the young scientist is a deeply flawed man – unable to feel real love for his fiancée Elizabeth, whom he shuns, and haunted by the burning ambition to discover the secret of life and prove himself a genius. It even seems as though it were not his keen interest in science that keeps Frankenstein aloof from Elizabeth and his family but, rather the other way around, his inability to show any real emotion that makes him take refuge to science. Paradoxically, the Creature itself, although ugly and ungainly, proves capable of love and is driven by a need for company and affection – and had not Victor Frankenstein abandoned him to a world in which he would be made to suffer for his terrifying outward appearance, but had he shown a true Creator’s interest in his Creature, all might have ended differently. However, Victor Frankenstein is a vain, power-hungry and heartless man – probably, and that is the second difference, much more so than in Mary Shelley’s novel, and maybe there’s the major message of the play: Science as such is neither good nor bad, but we should not forget that it lies in the hands of flawed human beings, which means that its results can both prove harmful and beneficial. At least, I’d like to think it that way since after all, we can witness both the positive and negative effects of technological and scientific development. There is yet another difference between the play and the novel, and this is the scene in which the Creature rapes Elizabeth. This is a detail which cooled off my enthusiasm about this new approach to the old Frankenstein tale considerably because I think that it does not really serve the purpose of the story and may – here I am just trying to make an educated guess – have found its way into the plot mainly on the grounds of it being dramatic and gross. Let’s take one step back and consider: The Creature wanted Frankenstein to give him a female companion, and Frankenstein at first complies with this request – not least because he senses a chance of even excelling his first creation. Then, however, when the scientist notices that the Creature is apparently more capable of genuine affection than he himself is, he destroys the female Creature. The original Creature then vows to have his revenge – but this would have lain in killing Elizabeth and not in raping her before. Somehow the Creature’s going to such extremes of viciousness is out of character in that however infuriated he might be after Frankenstein’s second treason, his hatred is always directed against his creator and not against the people in his creator’s entourage. In the case of Elizabeth, this additional streak of viciousness is even less creditable since, in Dear’s version of the story, she is the first person (apart from the blind old man) who ever sympathized with him. All in all, the rape scene spoilt the play considerably, although I would not say that Nick Dear’s interpretation of the Frankenstein tale is completely without its merits.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amy Sturgis

    Nick Dear's play condenses much of the action of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (entire main characters such as Henry Clerval are missing), but I think it does an admirable, at times truly chilling, job of distilling some of Shelley's major themes. I was particularly impressed with the way this play handles the question of original sin (it's clear that the Creature is "born" innocent, with an innate desire to be good, and only learns evil from humans) and considers the Frankenstein/Creature, God/Cr Nick Dear's play condenses much of the action of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (entire main characters such as Henry Clerval are missing), but I think it does an admirable, at times truly chilling, job of distilling some of Shelley's major themes. I was particularly impressed with the way this play handles the question of original sin (it's clear that the Creature is "born" innocent, with an innate desire to be good, and only learns evil from humans) and considers the Frankenstein/Creature, God/Creation relationship as one quite possibly of bad, even "unnatural" parenting (using Milton's Paradise Lost, as Shelley did, to great effect). The play is at its best when using Frankenstein - with his artificial ambition and emotional and physical frigidity - as the foil for the Creature, who seems to understand love, loyalty, and even innocent lust far better. I was genuinely moved by the play, and although it does have its weaknesses, I recommend it to those who love the novel. I'll be anxious to see what changes have been made to the play between its original publication and its current run at the National Theatre. (I'm most excited about seeing the performance!) Some theater critics mentioned a few moments of ill-timed humor, and I didn't see them in the published script. Others mentioned a lack of chemistry between Frankenstein and his cousin/bride-to-be, but that most definitely was part of the point: Frankenstein spends years of his time shut away, attempting to create artificial life (and then abandoning it), with no connection to his fiancee or her desire to create natural life (by becoming a mother), to the point that she asks why he never speaks to her. The Creature, on the other hand, converses and connects with her immediately (and proves far more motivated about getting into her bed). This fits well with the theme of the work as a whole. If the current production reflects this play at its strongest, it will be very powerful indeed. Edit after seeing the National Theatre performance: I noticed only a few changes between the published script version and the adaptation as performed. Victor's last words to Elizabeth on their wedding night changed from "I will try to love you, Elizabeth" to "I do love you, Elizabeth," although the delivery made it clear that the original meaning remained. Also, the Creature's comment after the deeply poignant rape/murder scene changed from the rather weak "That was good" to the far more wrenching "I am a man"; not only had the Creature experienced sex, but he had lied, brutalized, stolen, and killed - in short, he was like other men now.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This play, while based on Mary Shelly's story, has a much more different focus. A lot of the characters that were in the oriignal story got trimmed to make way for Frankenstein and his creature. It is much more fast-paced that leaves me wanting for more. Definitely looking forward to the actual stage play now. This play, while based on Mary Shelly's story, has a much more different focus. A lot of the characters that were in the oriignal story got trimmed to make way for Frankenstein and his creature. It is much more fast-paced that leaves me wanting for more. Definitely looking forward to the actual stage play now.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Nick Dear has created an amazing play from Mary Shelley's novel. There were so many wonderful moments in this play. I felt such pity for the creature and also anger at some of his actions. He was driven by revenge against his creator. I felt so much less sympathy for Victor Frankenstein. He is just as arrogant here as he was in the novel. He created a living being and then abandoned it to the cruelty of the world. The most heartbreaking scene was the last when the creature is pleading with Victo Nick Dear has created an amazing play from Mary Shelley's novel. There were so many wonderful moments in this play. I felt such pity for the creature and also anger at some of his actions. He was driven by revenge against his creator. I felt so much less sympathy for Victor Frankenstein. He is just as arrogant here as he was in the novel. He created a living being and then abandoned it to the cruelty of the world. The most heartbreaking scene was the last when the creature is pleading with Victor not to die. You see what could have been a son's love for his father. I recommend this play to all.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    RTC.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Actual rating: 4.5 stars CW: rape, death of a child {General spoiler warning ahead} I was fortunate enough to have read Frankenstein for the first time in October 2019, so when I heard the National Theatre was live streaming their 2011 performance of "Frankenstein" with the Nick Dear adaptation script, I knew I had to see it. Due to the combination of the fantastic acting, the amazing set design, and the excellent adaptation script, it is by far one of the most powerful plays I have seen in my life Actual rating: 4.5 stars CW: rape, death of a child {General spoiler warning ahead} I was fortunate enough to have read Frankenstein for the first time in October 2019, so when I heard the National Theatre was live streaming their 2011 performance of "Frankenstein" with the Nick Dear adaptation script, I knew I had to see it. Due to the combination of the fantastic acting, the amazing set design, and the excellent adaptation script, it is by far one of the most powerful plays I have seen in my life. (I'm putting it up there with Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice and the first time I saw Macbeth performed live.) In fact, immediately after watching the performance, I sought out Dear's script and read it, which is what the rest of this review is based on. (And I'm probably going to watch the performance at least one or two more times before it's taken down.) I loved Dear's adaptation. I already love Shelley's novel, but I really appreciated the twists that Dear took in his version. While Frankenstein is the focal point of the novel, the narrator who the audience follows, Dear cuts straight to the Creature's tale. Without Frankenstein monopolizing the audience's time, the viewers are more easily able to empathize with the Creature. While there is still the moral ambiguity of the original novel clearly apparent in the Creature's actions, Dear's take on Frankenstein's character pushes the audience towards a more interesting position of trying to make them take sides. The answer, ultimately, is still the same, stark gray question mark at the end of the play. I loved it. Oh, I loved this play so much. I desperately want to own a hard copy, though I'm not yet sure where the best place for me to buy it is. The ending scene was absolutely amazing, hands down my favorite. Two remarks on the National Theatre's take - in the scene after William's death, they cut short the conversation between Elizabeth and Frankenstein, to its detriment. I thought the original fit her character better. When I was watching, even pre-script reading, I thought she lacked something and gave up the idea of going to England far too easily. But on the other hand, Dear's script calls for an on-stage rape scene, while the National Theatre cut to black in order to not show it. And honestly, they get much thanks from me. That sequence was difficult enough to watch as it was. Additional applause to Dear - hearing so many quotes from Milton's Paradise Lost all afternoon finally gave me the push I've been waiting for to start reading it, even after it sitting on my bookshelf for a good six or seven years.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jolanda

    Notes prior to reading: Yeah... I'm not even going to pretend I'm unbiased when it comes to this version of Frankenstein. I saw the play twice ( okay, it was a live-stream, but it counts ) and I loved it both times. This was my first introduction to the story of Frankenstein, I hadn't actually read the original novel yet, the first time I saw the play. Anyway, I skipped out of the movie theatre, being the happiest person on planet earth on both occasions. I just had to get my claws on the actual Notes prior to reading: Yeah... I'm not even going to pretend I'm unbiased when it comes to this version of Frankenstein. I saw the play twice ( okay, it was a live-stream, but it counts ) and I loved it both times. This was my first introduction to the story of Frankenstein, I hadn't actually read the original novel yet, the first time I saw the play. Anyway, I skipped out of the movie theatre, being the happiest person on planet earth on both occasions. I just had to get my claws on the actual script so I could revel in the beauty that is Frankenstein, seeing as we won't be getting a dvd anytime soon, if we get it at all. And when I was in London last year, I found it in a bookstore. Score! Leaving it behind was not an option. I will enjoy this. Chances are I might become more critical of the actual script, now I can focus more on the actual plot and not be overwhelmed by the scenery, the music and the two amazing actors in the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his monster. Because, to be honest, there were things that bothered me when watching the play, and those issues are centered, for the most part, around the secondary characters. But the scenes between Victor and his monster are so heartwrenchingly beautiful, that I will always love this version of Frankenstein. For the full experience, I do recommend listening to the soundtrack whilst reading. I cannot recommend the soundtrack enough, two years after seeing the play for the first time, I still listen to it on a regular basis and certain songs haven't been off my playlist since. That's saying a lot. Go download that soundtrack, shoo shoo, off you go. Now, here we go. Food for thought: In one of the scenes between the Creature and De Lacey, De Lacey talks about different views on humanity. One school of thought says that fate is everything, god decides how you're going to turn out and there's nothing you can do to change that. De Lacey, however, subscribes to the theory that all men are born 'good' and it's a person's surroundings that influence a person and eventually will decide whether a person will turn out good or evil. I agree with De Lacey, I am not religious. But ever since reading that particular part of the dialogue between De Lacey and the Creature, I never could shake the thought: Where does the Creature stand in this discussion? What does he believe? The thing is, you don't drop something like that in a play, where every line counts, if it's not somehow important. And I can't shake the thought that the Creature might be the embodiment of the view that God makes us, in every sense of the word. The Creature's God, of course, is not the entity we view as God. The Creature's God is Victor Frankenstein, who created, abandoned, and cheated him of a normal life. There's a definite love-hate relationship going on between the Creature and his creator, because no matter how much the Creature hates Victor for the above mentioned, he still yearns for recognition and affection from Victor. The Creature tried desperately to be good, but was doomed to be ostracized by society. I think he believes that he can not influence his lifecourse, his path was predetermined the moment he was born, when Victor turned him out. He says as much in the first confrontational scene between himself and Victor: "and I was good, I wanted to be good." There's real heartbreak in those lines, and in a sense I feel he's blaming Victor. He wánted to be good, to be a part of society like any other man, but Victor cheated him of that option. That was not the path he was meant to take. When the Creature kills Elisabeth, he's finally turned his back on humanity and trying to be good. Elisabeth is the only person to fully grasp what he is and show him kindness in spite of that. It's when the Creature kills Elisabeth it becomes clear, to me, that the Creature doesn't believe he's capable of changing his own fate. He was never meant to be good, the beautiful things in life were never meant to be his. So he finally gives in to the idea that has been ever present ever since De Lacey explained his view of the world to him: he cannot change fate, his God has damned him to wickedness. And wicked he shall be. The Creature can't turn his back on Victor, no matter how much he hates him. The first confrontational scene, again, is brilliant in portraying that aspect of the Creature, as is the final scene. The Creature chastises Victor for demanding that the Creature acknowledges him to be his master. He skimped out on his responsibilities, so he doesn't deserve to be called his master. But the second Victor agrees to work his magic once more, the Creature starts calling him master, flattering him, feeding Victor's pride ( if that was even possible ). Yes, of course he's going to appease his master when he's going to make him a bride, but it's also the closest the Creature comes to being accepted by Victor. I think the Creature is genuinely pleased that Victor engages into conversation with him and explains how he views the world. Victor, on the other hand, is a cruel God. He's in awe of his creation, proud of himself of being able to go where no other person has gone before. He considers himself a god and forgets about his humanity in the process. All that matters to him is the work, there's no place in his world for anything else. He seems to think other humans are tools to him. He's got a fiancé, but he doesn't really seem to care for her, he marries her out of obligation. As soon as life starts intervering with the work, he puts life on hold. Even when he does get married, he has an ulterior motive that's got nothing to do with love. Victor isn't capable of love, he's consumed by pride and guilt. It's ironic and tragic that the creation is more capabale of emotion, love, than the creator, but the creation is the one spurned by society, whilst the other has rank, name and fame and thus can do as he pleases. Anyway, by the rambling you can see that I love this play. I could read/see it over and over and over again, only for the three confrontational scenes between Victor and the Creature, being the scene on the mountain, the one in the shack and the final confrontation in the arctic circle. Victor and his Creature are two sides of the same coin, their lives are interwoven, one can't exist without the other. There's a tragic beauty in that, and I love all things tragic. So, what's stopping me from giving the play 5 stars? Well, the secondary characters. By god, I hate most of the secondary characters. Their dialogue feels forced, they're used as plot devices, never as real characters. When William is scared to death of the Creature, he still takes the time to explain that his brother never leaves his room and that William considers him 'dull'. That's not the sort of information I'd share if someone was threatening my life. Same with Elisabeth, I wouldn't be discussing my relationship with my fiancé when my fiancés younger brother has just gone missing. Yes, these things need to be addressed, because they're important to the plot, but there's a time and a place people, and that's definitely not on the pier where you last saw your fiancés brother befóre he went missing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marisa

    Oof. Almost as hefty to read as watch. “I am good at the art of assimilation. I have watched, listened, and learnt. At first I knew nothing at all. But I studied the ways of men, and slowly I learnt: how to ruin, how to hate, how to debase, how to humiliate. And at the feet of my master, I learnt the highest of human skills, the skill no other creature owns: I finally learnt how to lie.”

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ann Rees

    Yeah this was a terrible Frankenstein adaptation. I’ve seen Frankenstein adapted well to the stage before, but I don’t think this adaptation captured the spirit of the book and in fact handled the complex themes rather clumsily.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jobie

    Well, well, well. I'll tell you what "the play" seems to do and/or on what journey (effect it could have) it could take the audience. ***SPOILER ALERT*** The play is told from the viewpoint of the Monster. This contrasts the novel which is told from Victor's point of view (for the most part) through the Captain of the ship who rescues him. The 1st half of the play, follows the story of the book. Since I had just read the book, I found this redundant and boring. I will admit, I was hoping for a twis Well, well, well. I'll tell you what "the play" seems to do and/or on what journey (effect it could have) it could take the audience. ***SPOILER ALERT*** The play is told from the viewpoint of the Monster. This contrasts the novel which is told from Victor's point of view (for the most part) through the Captain of the ship who rescues him. The 1st half of the play, follows the story of the book. Since I had just read the book, I found this redundant and boring. I will admit, I was hoping for a twist or a new perspective on the original telling of the story. We get this, somewhat, at the opening of the book since it is told from the Monster's point of view. However, it still seems like a twice told tale. The same questions seem to apply. Does Victor truly have a God complex? Will anyone have compassion on the Monster? Who is the REAL monster? Mid-way our senses pick-up a twist. One desire, "Will anyone have compassion on the Monster?" seems to about to be requited in the scene with Elizabeth and the Monster (not found in the book). She seems not only capable but willing to have compassion on the Monster and intercede for him to her husband, Victor. The Monster abruptly apologizes, rapes her and kills her. But here we are, as an audience, lulled into a sense of "the same" (that is assuming you know the story well; there would be another effect if you do not), even slightly familiar with the story you feel that a sinister cloud is about to erupt. I will save the retelling of plot points, but we see the Monster devolve into a sadistic task Master, teetering between devotion and loathing for Victor. We continue to ask about the nature of Monsters even more through to and especially at the end of the play. There is no redemption, no hope. Mankind is left, like this creature with is God, to devolve and God (ie, Victor) is at the mercy of it's own creation. A note about the rape scene While I'm going to admit that I'm sensitive about rape scenes, this is not an apology. On the contrary, it's a call for everyone to re-evaluate their view of rape scenes in art and story. My first problem, the rape scene does not move the story forward - that's my "artistic" problem with the rape scene. It also doesn't augment the character (except for maybe the worse). Maybe it makes him more despicable. In the end the Monster beats Victor to the brink of death, mourns him, then revives him. Wouldn't we be more torn about our feelings for the Monster if, when we arrived there, we had a smidge more sympathy for him? We are creations and we wrestle with God. What makes other's wresting with God heartbreaking is their virtue, not their vice. I want my heart to break for the Monster as it had so many times before when I felt his actions were almost justified. Neither way did Elizabeth deserve to die. You could argue that killing her was almost solely an act against Victor - it was quick, it was without malice toward her. However, it is much harder to argue the rape being anything other than a violation of Elizabeth herself. Why is this necessary? Why is a rape scene necessary here or anywhere? To me it's indicative of two things. One, it's a collective reminder of the power men/society/evil (I am loathe to blame just men here - there is something else at work) over women. The majority of rape scenes we see are men over women (though other's are becoming prevalent). It has started to make me sick (and this sickness makes me tired) to constantly see women's no's not taken seriously (as in "Game of Thrones"), their sympathies used against them, and their choice to GIVE their passion stripped from them. This latter idea makes me the most sad. Why can't Elizabeth be allowed to give her passion to the Monster in whatever form that will take? Why can't we as artist tell that story? As a writer, I understand that you tell the story that is in you. But why does this story settle in our collective conscience and then come out at will? Two, what does it say about men? The Monster's raping of Elizabeth solidifies his "Monter-ness." There is no going back now. He is nothing other than a monster. Whatever sympathy that I could have had for him in gone and I will be hard-pressed to retrieve it. I wanted to love the Monster; I wanted to freely open my love to him. I cannot do it now for it has been ripped from me. I want my men good, as good as they can be and be freely themselves. I no longer want men in my stories to take from women what women want, can and would passionately give. But, from the Monster, that was stripped; he can no longer allow himself to open up to the free give because he took. I would challenge that a rape scene isn't just about taking power away from women, it robs men of the gift of being men of honor and passion. It makes us look as them as if they are no more than monsters. I'm tired of men being monsters in my stories.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mariel

    Absolutely loved this. I ordered a copy after I had the chance to see the plays broadcast through NT Live. Reading Dear's script offered a handful of tiny glimmer moments that both actors Cumberbatch and Miller skipped over in their performances, but also shows the fertile ground that each had to work with. Perfect companion piece reading. For anyone interested, I've also written a longer review of the play itself: You Gave Me Life, Now Show Me How to Live Absolutely loved this. I ordered a copy after I had the chance to see the plays broadcast through NT Live. Reading Dear's script offered a handful of tiny glimmer moments that both actors Cumberbatch and Miller skipped over in their performances, but also shows the fertile ground that each had to work with. Perfect companion piece reading. For anyone interested, I've also written a longer review of the play itself: You Gave Me Life, Now Show Me How to Live

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I did not get to see this production live, sadly, but the performances were recorded and broadcasted in theaters around the world. I first saw it in 2012 and then again in November 2013. It sells out fast and was requested to be shown again by popular demand. I love that Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternated their roles each night. It's not something we see a lot and you get a chance to see how each plays the same roles differently from the other and how they play off each other w I did not get to see this production live, sadly, but the performances were recorded and broadcasted in theaters around the world. I first saw it in 2012 and then again in November 2013. It sells out fast and was requested to be shown again by popular demand. I love that Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternated their roles each night. It's not something we see a lot and you get a chance to see how each plays the same roles differently from the other and how they play off each other when they switch. It runs for 2 hours with no intermission. When BC played Dr. Frankenstein I felt he was very proud. He stood tall, he was eloquent and graceful. He thought he was a god and had this pride about him because he found God's secret. It made me more angry at him for abandoning his creature. When JLM played the doctor I felt he was more of a mad scientist who believed his scientific breakthrough was better than God. He moved about in an erratic manner and his voice was hoarse. (Though that could have been from the strain from performing. Either way it added to his performance.) Each way they played the Creature really fit their body types. BC is tall and lean so he studied men going through physical therapy to learn how to walk again. In the beginning he was very floppy and as time progresses he becomes more controlled and his speech more articulate. JLM studied his 2 year old son and mimicked him for the role of the Creature. He drooled a lot, grunted more, and his speech was more of a stammer. I also felt he was more of an angry and violent child when he committed the murders. JLM was much more aggressive when he snapped the neck of one of his victims. I really would love to see this on Broadway with the same cast and director (Danny Boyle). I loved the play by Nick Dear so much I bought the book from amazon UK. (I did read the book by Mary Shelley years ago in high school. While I loved the morality and ethical concepts and the sci-fi aspect, I disliked her style of writing.) Dr. Frankenstein is a monster himself and he created the Creature in his image. Frankenstein was a prideful man who saw the Creature as nothing more than an equation to solve without considering that he would be a sentient being with feelings and the capability to become an educated man. So out of fear he abandons the Creature, leaving him to die. Frankenstein takes no responsibility. I may not understand why Elisabeth chose to be with a man who ignores her and then had a nervous breakdown, but she had it right. Frankenstein does not take responsibility for anything and he has defied God. Because of this, their world is in chaos. If he wanted to create life he could have done so with her, but he thought he was better than God and the natural order of life. So what does the Creature learn in the cruel world? After trying to be part of society he learns he is hated. He is beaten and cast out. He's lonely and unloved. How depressing. So the Creature seeks his creator so that he can make him a mate. He wants a friend to love and who would love him in return. I think Frankenstein destroyed the female creature out jealousy more than any other reason he debated. He was jealous that his Creature was more capable of love than himself. He destroyed every chance of love that came his way and hatred is what he knows. The saddest part is that if Frankenstein had not abandoned his Creature, the Creature would have loved him. If he had known love instead of rejection and hate he would have become a good man. But Frankenstein was not a good man. The Creature was made in his image and thus they both know hatred and revenge. That is what drives the forward. That is how they will live out their days. I really like that concept that we're a blank slate and what shapes us nature and nurture together.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    After actually seeing the play written by Nick Dear, it was refreshing to read what was actually on the page. The writing is superb--simple, subtle, and powerful. The stage directions really add extra meaning to the words that I did not grasp when watching the play. I would definitely recommend Nick Dear's adaptation of Frankenstein to any number of people. If you've read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I'd especially recommend it. The play hits key points and brings the themes present in the orig After actually seeing the play written by Nick Dear, it was refreshing to read what was actually on the page. The writing is superb--simple, subtle, and powerful. The stage directions really add extra meaning to the words that I did not grasp when watching the play. I would definitely recommend Nick Dear's adaptation of Frankenstein to any number of people. If you've read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I'd especially recommend it. The play hits key points and brings the themes present in the original novel to the next level, but by analyzing different aspects of those themes. Frankenstein is a quick read and should be on everyone's must-read list. I guarantee you'll gain something from reading this play whether it be insight to your life or life in general.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Negrini

    I liked it, nothing more, nothing less. Its plot is majestically developed in the live-action (and I think that if you want to enjoy this script you must have seen the play at least once), but this script doesn't really catch the complexity of the props and special effects, nor the way actors moved and expressed feelings on the scene, etc... I get that it is normal not to see a tedious kind of verbiage in scripts... but this particular theatrical representation needed them. There are a lot of mom I liked it, nothing more, nothing less. Its plot is majestically developed in the live-action (and I think that if you want to enjoy this script you must have seen the play at least once), but this script doesn't really catch the complexity of the props and special effects, nor the way actors moved and expressed feelings on the scene, etc... I get that it is normal not to see a tedious kind of verbiage in scripts... but this particular theatrical representation needed them. There are a lot of moments in complete silence when either characters are deeply struggling to do something, or when they are infering something about the person they are taling to. What I mean to say is: the way the script is written is absolutely normal. Dialogues are just dialogues, except for the interesting interactions between Victor and the Creature, which explain the main topic of the original book. Since I found the descriptions (in italics) absolutely deep and very well written, I would have loved to read something more about the "something" actors showed in the play.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dan Gorman

    Although it omits some characters from the novel that I would have liked to see onstage, speaking Nick Dear's vivid dialogue, this Frankenstein is one of the best adaptations of Mary Shelley's book. It is true to the book's themes, captures the narcissism of Victor Frankenstein, and gives voice to some of Mary Wollstonecraft's feminist ideas through the character of Elizabeth. The National Theatre production starring Johnny Lee Miller, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Naomie Harris was outstanding. Although it omits some characters from the novel that I would have liked to see onstage, speaking Nick Dear's vivid dialogue, this Frankenstein is one of the best adaptations of Mary Shelley's book. It is true to the book's themes, captures the narcissism of Victor Frankenstein, and gives voice to some of Mary Wollstonecraft's feminist ideas through the character of Elizabeth. The National Theatre production starring Johnny Lee Miller, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Naomie Harris was outstanding.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    Took some interesting liberties with the story that resulted in some gratuitous inclusions. There were some thought-provoking interpretations and readings of the original text that triggered new insights and connections.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Lee

    4.5 stars A great adaptation of a great book. Nick Dear's writing style is very cinematic and yet still classic somehow. I still prefer the original text but I think this will be the best adaptation for a long time. Also, at 77 pages it's a length that can easily be read in one sitting. I plan on watching the production on Drama online and hoping to see it reach the heights of the script's potential. 4.5 stars A great adaptation of a great book. Nick Dear's writing style is very cinematic and yet still classic somehow. I still prefer the original text but I think this will be the best adaptation for a long time. Also, at 77 pages it's a length that can easily be read in one sitting. I plan on watching the production on Drama online and hoping to see it reach the heights of the script's potential.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    Thoroughly weird, but a fairly accessible introduction to the source material by Mary Shelley. Strangely descriptive for a play, way more stage directions than usual, probably because it's the script to an adaption. Read for class. Thoroughly weird, but a fairly accessible introduction to the source material by Mary Shelley. Strangely descriptive for a play, way more stage directions than usual, probably because it's the script to an adaption. Read for class.

  21. 5 out of 5

    bookmaggot

    A hesitant 4/5 but not quite a 3.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Not Mark

    Stage adaptation of the novel.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gio

    NT LIVE PRODUCTION directed by Danny Boyle starring Lee Miller and Cumberbatch was an extraordinary rendition of this story.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    3.5 stars

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dion

    Raw and cerebral, even if it meanders a bit.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Scott Trost

    several good scenes, a speech and a fantasy. Male/male, male/female.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kelly W.

    Nick Dear's Frankenstein is a brilliant adaptation of Shelley's novel and if you can't get to a theater to see it on stage, it works well as a companion to the original text. I'd like to teach it along with the novel someday, as I think comparing the two allows for insightful analysis of some of the themes associated with making a man using dubious science. Things I Liked 1. Stage Directions: Dear's stage directions are some of the most interesting I’ve ever seen. One of my favorites in scene 28: Nick Dear's Frankenstein is a brilliant adaptation of Shelley's novel and if you can't get to a theater to see it on stage, it works well as a companion to the original text. I'd like to teach it along with the novel someday, as I think comparing the two allows for insightful analysis of some of the themes associated with making a man using dubious science. Things I Liked 1. Stage Directions: Dear's stage directions are some of the most interesting I’ve ever seen. One of my favorites in scene 28: “A heartbreaking moment in which it becomes clear that the Creature may be more capable of love than Victor is.” It’s those moments which really define the play for me. They are written into the script itself, which at times suggests there may be an omniscient narrator that guides the events of the play (though you can presumably only notice this if you are reading it as opposed to watching it). 2. Lines: Dear has added so much depth to the speaking parts of this drama, taking Shelley’s original concepts and concentrating them in gut-wrenching moments that really punch the reader in the heart. For example, De Lacey asks the Creature to describe the moon, and the Creature looks up and says that it is “solitary.” What a beautiful moment! 3. Opening Scene: As an audience, we are given the creature’s experience through clever stage direction in the opening scene of the play: the lights flicker on and off depending on if the creature’s eyes are opened or closed, we hear heartbeats. It’s a very visceral experience, and I think seeing it at a theater would enhance this feeling. 4. Elizabeth: Elizabeth has a great moment when Victor essentially tells her that she can’t accompany him to England because school is no place for a woman (she won’t understand his work). Elizabeth retorts by saying, “Are you suggesting I’m less intelligent than you? … That’s hardly my fault. I wasn’t allowed to go to school.” At least in the 1831 volume of the novel, Elizabeth is pushed to the side and there isn't much engagement with the role of women head-on like this. Rather than being satisfied to obey Victor's wishes, I love that in the play, Elizabeth shows an interest to learn science so she can be Victor’s lab assistant. Go ladies! 5. Themes: The theme of sex and procreation is extremely prevalent, (more so than the original book) creating an interesting dynamic between the Creature's desire for love and Victor’s scientific processes. Sex is sprinkled everywhere in this play: Elizabeth fondles Victor at one point and the De Laceys exhibit a sexual passion for one another, which motivates the creature to request a female companion. Even science becomes sexualized, to a degree. Victor says: “I followed nature into her lair and stripped her of her secrets!” Such violence language alludes to rape, thereby suggesting that his experiments were a gross violation of nature, which the Creature pays back in kind by actually raping Elizabeth (a con for me - see below). Sex and reproduction is by no means unique to Dear’s play: Shelley’s novel explores some of these same topics and raises the question of good/bad parenting. However, by making them so overt, Dear’s drama calls attention to bodily experience (as opposed to intellect and abstract concepts). True, we do see the Creature engaging with complex ideas, such as the state of man and the role of master versus slave; but sex highlights the bodily experiences we see in the play: the Creature struggles to speak, characters physically touch the Creature’s body and his scars, even the glaciers are said to “breathe.” Such attention to the body justifies the opening sequence and sets this adaptation apart from Shelley’s original in a way that is more compact and loaded for a contemporary audience. Things I Didn't Like 1. Rape Scene: Unnecessary rape scene. The Creature rapes Elizabeth on her wedding night. Seriously. I don't remember that being in the 1818 or 1831 versions of the novel, but maybe it's implied and I missed it. But I don't think so. Recommendations: Definitely read or see this play if you liked Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. You might also enjoy this play if you're interested in questions of humanity, gender and sexuality, and morality in science.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    4.5 /5 “I should be Adam. God was proud of Adam. But Satan's the one I sympathise with. For I was cast out, like Satan, though I did no wrong. And when I see others content, I feel the bile rise in my throat, and it tastes like Satan's bile.” - Nick Dear, Frankenstein, Scene Twenty-Four. Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein is one of my favourite novels and one of the very first books that I fell in love with, so it has a very special place in my heart. I saw the play twice through the National Theatre Li 4.5 /5 “I should be Adam. God was proud of Adam. But Satan's the one I sympathise with. For I was cast out, like Satan, though I did no wrong. And when I see others content, I feel the bile rise in my throat, and it tastes like Satan's bile.” - Nick Dear, Frankenstein, Scene Twenty-Four. Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein is one of my favourite novels and one of the very first books that I fell in love with, so it has a very special place in my heart. I saw the play twice through the National Theatre Live programme and absolutely adored it! Reading the play allowed me to re-live this brilliant production. Nick Dear’s adaptation of Frankenstein is a much more streamlined and faster paced version of the original story. The play doesn’t have the Chinese Box narrative structure of the original and many characters have been condensed, changed or written out completely. The plot of this adaptation is slightly different to the original, with more of a focus on the Creature and the complicated relationship between Victor and his creation. Despite this, the romanticism and essence of the original text hasn’t been lost. Dear has also perfectly captured the many themes and ideas of the original text and explores them beautifully. Dear really seems to understand Victor and the Creature, and provides so much insight and depth to both of their characters, perhaps more than in the original novel. The dialogue is fantastic, powerful and thought provoking, particularly the dialogue between Victor and the Creature. Scene Twenty-Four is particularly wonderful. "Victor: I have come to kill you! Creature: To kill me? Why then did you create me? Victor: To prove that I could! Creature: So you make sport with my life?" - Frankenstein, Scene Twenty-Four "Victor: There is no dialogue with killers! Creature: Yet you’d kill me if you could! Why, you have just tried! So why is your killing justified, and mine is not? Victor: I won’t argue with you! My God, I’m halfway up a mountain, debating with a – a – Creature: A living creature!” - Frankenstein, Scene Twenty-Four The early scenes of the play are almost completely free of dialogue but the stage directions are wonderful, the first scene in particular is beautifully written. "The creature lunges at Victor, as if to embrace him, or maybe to strangle him - who knows?" - Frankenstein, Scene Three "A heartbreaking moment in which it becomes clear that the creature may be more capable of love than Victor is" - Frankenstein, Scene Twenty-Eight As much as I enjoyed this play, the secondary characters, such as Elizabeth and Monsieur Frankenstein came across as two-dimensional and flat, and seemed more like plot devises than characters. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful, moving play and I hope to re-read and re-watch it in the future. For those who feel intimidated by the language of the original novel, Nick Dear’s play is a great introduction to Frankenstein and gothic literature.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the best play that I have read since August: Osage County. This play is just utterly magnificent. This is undoubtedly the best version of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein that has ever been adapted. Everything about this play is beautiful. Even the stage directions, and I know how odd that must sound. Here's some stage directions that I particular love, Scene Three: "Victor is curious, but then repulsed by the filthy, slimy being sprawled in front of him. The Creature turns and sees Victor. He This is the best play that I have read since August: Osage County. This play is just utterly magnificent. This is undoubtedly the best version of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein that has ever been adapted. Everything about this play is beautiful. Even the stage directions, and I know how odd that must sound. Here's some stage directions that I particular love, Scene Three: "Victor is curious, but then repulsed by the filthy, slimy being sprawled in front of him. The Creature turns and sees Victor. He reaches out to him, babbling incoherently." "The Creature lunges at Victor, as if to embrace him, or maybe to strangle him--who knows?" Scene Six: "He's Adam in the Garden of Eden--an innocent." Scene Twenty-Nine: "Victor hangs back in appalled fascination as he watches his Creature mating." The dialogue is so beautiful (sorry I keep using that word) and interesting--so many layers! Again, some of my favorites below, Scene Twenty-Three: Victor: Why do you need to see me? Elizabeth: Were' supposed to be getting married! V: Oh, so I'm expected to-- E: --talk to me occasionally, yes! V: But what if I haven't got anything to say? What am I meant to do then? Scene Twenty-Four: Creature: Why then did you create me? Victor: To prove that I could! C: So you make sport with my life? V: In the cause of science! You were my greatest experiment--but an experiment that as gone wrong. An experiment that must be curtailed! Scene Twenty-Eight: William: You are their king--will they do as you tell them? Or will they be bad? Like the one who killed me? Scene Thirty: Creature: All I wanted was your love. I would have loved you with all my heart. My poor creator. Suddenly Victor revives Master! You do love me! You do! Victor: (weakly) I don't know what love is. There are so many themes in this play and within those themes they go so deep. Religion, love, morality, science, the list goes on. This is the most exciting play I've read in forever. If it ever played near where I lived I'd see it in a heartbeat. I'd recommend everyone to read this. Even if you aren't familiar with Shelley's Frankenstein or if you hate plays. Just read it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Wesley

    I bought this almost immediately after viewing one of the screened versions of the National Theatre Live production (Cumberbatch as The Creature, and Jonny Lee Miller as Frankenstein). I absolutely adored Nick Dear's adaptation of Shelley's 'Frankenstein', and was absolutely enraptured by the actors. Perhaps I'm biased; Cumberbatch is one of my favorite actors, and one of the reasons I picked up Shelley's novel in the first place (as a prelude to being able to see the televised production). I ad I bought this almost immediately after viewing one of the screened versions of the National Theatre Live production (Cumberbatch as The Creature, and Jonny Lee Miller as Frankenstein). I absolutely adored Nick Dear's adaptation of Shelley's 'Frankenstein', and was absolutely enraptured by the actors. Perhaps I'm biased; Cumberbatch is one of my favorite actors, and one of the reasons I picked up Shelley's novel in the first place (as a prelude to being able to see the televised production). I adored the novel, and having heard a few reviews spouting its inconsistencies, expected the play to be wildly different - yet, it stuck true to the novel much more than I had anticipated. Of course, there is only so much one can do on a stage production, but I felt as though it captured the themes presented in Shelley's work, as well as the emotions felt by both parties. This is a really wonderfully adapted play of Frankenstein, and I'm very glad to have been able to see one of the versions.

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