On Friday Lettice and I saw Frankenstein at the National Theatre. As the leads are alternating the roles we saw it with Jonny Lee Miller as Victor Frankenstein and Benedict Cumberbatch as the creature.
This adaptation drops the novel’s framing device and everything leading up to the moment when the creature is shocked into life, hence the play began with ten minutes of naked Benedict Cumberbatch (hello everyone who arrives here from Google because of that phrase, sorry there aren’t any photos here) writhing around on stage as the new born creature. From here onwards the plot whilst streamlined sticks fairly close to the book.
The performances from the two leads are excellent, especially Cumberbatch’s twitchy creature. Miller is slightly less convincing as Victor switches between guilt and arrogance, but holds his own in the set pieces between the two. The supporting cast keep things ticking along nicely with the exception of George Harris as Victor’s father who gives a rather oddly mannered performance.
The set makes full use of the Olivier’s facilities which is nice as the last few plays I’ve seen here have been a little static. There’s a large church bell suspended in the middle of the audience that gets rung, loudly, at various points, guess where we were sitting?
Meanwhile, there was a bit of celeb spotting in the audience: Simon Callow, David Walliams (he was at school a couple of years above me), Graham Norton and someone else who we both recognised but haven’t been able to put a name to. We think he wasn’t Iain Glenn but looks a bit like a slightly younger version of him; any guesses?