Frankenstein comes to St Albans stage
- Credit: Nick Clarke
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein comes to the St Albans stage this week.
The word Frankenstein has, over the years, become synonymous with that of a monster.
However, the name actually belongs to Mary Shelley’s creation, Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant young scientist who discovers how to bring life from the remains of the dead.
Patrick Sandford’s stirring adaptation of Frankenstein is now being brought to life on the stage of The Abbey Theatre from this Friday.
Using body parts garnered mainly from morgues, Victor creates an extraordinary human, intending him to be a glorious affirmation of life.
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Instead he is repulsed by the very thing he has brought into being, and he cruelly rejects it.
What he has failed to understand is that every sentient being has a heart and a soul.
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What the creature needs is love and friendship.
When he is denied that, he seeks revenge, wreaking a trail of disaster that has far-reaching consequences for Victor and his family.
As Gavin Mathers, who plays Victor, quite legitimately points out: “Maybe Frankenstein is the monster; after all, he believed he could channel the power of God in his hands.”
Gavin added: “Every line from the play has been taken from the original text, but allows huge flexibility in terms of direction and design.
“The staging is therefore fluid and ever-changing, due to the vast lengths each character travels both physically and emotionally.
Coupled with the imaginative sound and lighting, it will tantalise all your senses.”
Aside from the murder and mayhem, there is a love story at the heart of the play.
When Victor was just five years old, his parents adopted young Elizabeth, and they have been in love with each other ever since.
His obsession with his scientific experiments and later with the creature, keeps them apart.
When they eventually do marry, their happiness is short-lived, as the creature exacts the ultimate revenge on his creator.
Georgia Choudhuri plays Victor’s long-suffering fiancée, Elizabeth.
She said: “Sandford has taken every character and condensed them into an essential being.
“He tends not to waste words, so you get to the crux immediately and are thrown straight into the emotional states of the characters.
“Despite the emotional honesty with which both Shelley and Sandford write, Elizabeth is very held back.
“Because of that, I have approached her as someone who always looks outwards, living almost entirely for others.
“She loves Victor deeply, but is willing to let him go, thinking of his happiness first. Playing such an emotionally demanding character has been very rewarding.”
Performances of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein take place on the Abbey Theatre Main Stage from Friday, February 23 to Saturday, February 24 at 8pm, and then on Sunday, February 25 at 2.30pm.
There are also performances from Tuesday, February 27 to Saturday, March 3 at 8pm.
To book tickets go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 857861.
• To coincide with the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, there will be a dedicated schools performance on the Tuesday, February 27 at 8pm.
Teachers can find more information about the schools performance on www.abbeytheatre.org.uk/join-in/education