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Frankenstein - The Adelaide Repertory Theatre

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by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events.
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Why does God get to be the only one to play God?
Frankenstein Returns to Adelaide Repertory Theatre
Courtesy of Adelaide Repertory Theatre - Artist: Norm Caddick.

Celebrations are in store in 2018 for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. To commemorate this notable occasion, The Adelaide Repertory Theatre will present the Adelaide premiere of Nick Dear's 2011 stage adaptation of Frankenstein.

Frankenstein Returns to Adelaide Repertory Theatre
Steve Parker as The Creature, and Patrick Clements as Dr Frankenstein. Photographer: Norm Caddick.

Shelley's enthralling story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, a young mad scientist who creates in his laboratory an intelligent, hideous, human-looking creature from assembling various body parts. Although The Creature is feared by everyone, it is sensitive, self-aware and has its own expectations as a living person. Shelley's book is considered by many to be the first science-fiction story and has over the years inspired various imitators in many stage and screen adaptations.

Frankenstein returns toThe Repertory
Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff

Frankenstein returns toThe Repertory
Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein.

Over the years the name 'Frankenstein', has be come identified not with Dr Victor Frankenstein as created by Mary Shelley, but with 'The Creature' Dr Frankenstein produced. In a disparaging manner Hollywood has produced the grotesque image of Frankenstein as the horrific, deformed monster with a bolt through its neck in numerous gothic horror movies. Possibly the best known Frankenstein movies are three which offer a quite different portrayal of Frankenstein; the 1931 horror film starring Boris Karloff as the iconic gothic creature; the 1974 Mel Brooks' raucous, zany, sexed up, comedy horror Young Frankenstein starring Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman; and the 1994 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, directed by Kenneth Branagh, where Robert De Niro interpreted the tragic creation as a sensitive Creature. This film based on Mary Shelley's novel is considered to be the most faithful adaptation.

Frankenstein returns toThe Repertory
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; movie directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Nick Dear's critically-acclaimed theatrical re-imagining of Shelley's classic tale not only held London audiences spellbound, but was also filmed for a limited cinema release. Directed by Danny Boyle of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire fame, his lavish film production enjoyed considerable success.

Nick Dear's interpretation takes an interesting reverse-approach opening with creation of The Creature (Steve Parker) presenting The Creature's point-of-view. The play concentrates on The Creature's seeking search for identity after escaping from the laboratory and attempting to adapt into the world. The play becomes a story depicting prejudice, isolation and social injustice as The Creature struggles to control his violent instincts. Eventually, The Creature meets his maker (Patrick Clements) in a gripping climax.

Frankenstein returns toThe Repertory
The Creature portryed by Steve Parker. Photographer: Norm Caddick.

Playing the role of The Creature, Steve Parker says, " I feel sure audiences will relate to my character's emotional journey. We all start innocent, but it's not long before the realities of life place larger and harsher demands on ourselves. I want to emphasise how The Creature did not start out as a villain, but became one due to events and experiences beyond his control. This does not excuse his vengeful actions, but perhaps an explanation."

Frankenstein returns toThe Repertory
Steve Parker as The Creature, and Patrick Clements as Dr Frankenstein. Photographer: Norm Caddick.

One of the insights that recurs throughout the play is that Dr Victor Frankenstein and The Creature are actually reflections of each other. Their relationship forming a critical key point of the play's dramatic conflict. Victor has some highly electifying moments in the play as he is obsessed with beating death, since the death of his Mother. With his creation of The Creature, Victor is tortured by his own failings and lack of accomplishment which lead him to his obsession and madness.

The supporting cast will consist of actors playing multiple roles which helps emphasise the concept of mirror-images. Tom Carney is playing both DeLacey (Mentor to The Creature) and Monsieur Frankenstein (Father of Victor), Rosie Williams is both the Female Creature and Elizabeth Lavenza (Fiancee to Victor).

White's production will provide a gothic atmosphere, without forfeiting the human intimacy that is crucial to the drama. His multimedia approach promises to be exciting as it will almost appear like a film as the stage will consist of a combination of construction, lighting and projections. Lighting Engineer, Jason Groves using projections to create other locations and Brendan Taggart on Soundscape a gripping and exciting atmosphere will be produced on stage.

Director, Kerrin White, an Adelaide Rep veteran who has directed stage adaptations of thrillers such as Dracula and The Talented Mr Ripley, directs this new production with a flair for human intimacy that drives the play's dramatic conflict. "This Frankenstein is bound to stimulate your thinking as well as pull on your heartstrings" says White.

WARNING: contains nudity, violence and scenes of a sexual nature.

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Why? This exciting new production with a flair for human intimacy that drives the play's dramatic conflict is bound to stimulate your thinking as well as pull on your heartstrings.
When: 5 April - 14 April 2018. All evening performances commence at 8.00 pm. On Saturday, 14 April 2.00 pm - Matinee.
Phone: 08 8212 5777
Where: Arts Theatre, 53 Angas Street, Adelaide
Cost: Adult: $22 / Concession $17. Booking on-line: or
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by Haydn Radford on 11/04/2018
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