Birmingham Stage Company


7 February 2011

It's a wonderful experience to see great acting from the new generation and watching Benedict Cumberbatch in AFTER THE DANCE was the most exciting performance I'd seen on stage since Matthew Macfadyen in MUCH ADO, so I was greatly anticipating Ben C as the Creature in Frankenstein. The roles of Frankenstein and the Creature are being swapped nightly and I'd be interested to return to see Ben C as Frankenstein. The problem with the performance I saw on Saturday is that you didn't really care about anyone, with the exception of the excellent performances by Naomie Harris as Elizabeth and Karl Johnson as Delacey. It feels like they have the best scenes, but I'm not sure if that's because they're the best written, or the best acted. I think the complexities of the story may have got swamped by the tremendous effort that has gone into the physical characteristics of playing the monster, which is frankly the least interesting aspect of the character. Personally I am much more interested in the internal struggles faced by a monster 'born' into human society, revealing what it is to be human. And in order to achieve that I think we have to care about him, as in many ways he is 'our' creature, a creation of not just science, but of society. I suppose it's the same with all drama: you can spend a lot of time on effects, but if we don't care.....?


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