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Watermill Theatre - Frankenstein

31st October to 4th November 2016.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Monster masterclass

Watermill actor 'outstanding' in dual Frankenstein role

Frankenstein, at The Watermill, Bagnor, from Monday, October 31, to Friday, November 4

Mary Shelley's gothic novel Frankenstein is skilfully adapted by Tristan Bernays in this superb production at The Watermill.

On a sparse stage, a theatrical trunk and a tall mirror with two old-fashioned standard lamps form the set.

As a taped recording of the beginning of the story is played, a pulsating atmospheric soundscape creates the mood. Laying on the trunk, the monster slowly and painfully comes to life. He begins to discover his feet, his arms and his body as he explores his surroundings.

Lucy Keirl is splendid as the chorus, providing the musical accompaniment on the accordion and flute and supporting the action.

Awkwardly, the monster sees himself in the mirror for the first time and you can't help but feel his pain as he tries to make sense of it all.

George Fletcher is simply outstanding as both the monster and Frankenstein, effortlessly moving between the characters. It is a stunning performance, both sensitive and powerful, in what is a true masterclass in acting this epic poem.

As each day passes, the monster becomes more confident, discovering new things, primitive and animal like, as well as speech and the ability to read. In his jacket is a book and he encourages audience members to open it.

He is all alone with no friends or family but is given shelter by an old blind man, who offers him hospitality. However, when the old man's son and daughter return home they are inflamed with rage and horror at the sight of the monster and he is attacked.

All he seeks is love and compassion and when he finally meets his creator Dr Frankenstein, he desperately questions: "Why did you make me like this?"

He demands that the doctor should make another life as a companion for him, pleading: "Does Adam not need Eve? I need love." He is desperate for a bride.

Seeking revenge, the monster kills both Frankenstein's son William in a most symbolic manner and his wife Elizabeth in a most dramatic way.

Incensed by the murder, Frankenstein chases after the monster, with traumatic, devastating results.

Director Eleanor Rhode has created a moving visceral piece of theatre but the evening belongs to George Fletcher's vibrant physical performance, filled with passion and emotion, that fully deserved the spirited applause from the audience.

The play tours to schools and Wilton's Music Hall in London. A production that should not be missed.