Throwback - NT Live:Frankenstein

I've talked before about my love of National Theatre Live, and of my love of cinema releases of stage productions in general, and so when my uni hired out a screen at the local cinema so that the English Literature undergrads could see the National Theatre's 2011 production of Frankenstein, I jumped at the opportunity and grabbed a ticket for both myself and my equally enthusiastic English and Classics studying friend!

What initially attracted me to this particular production was the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller alternated the roles of Frankenstein and his monster. I thought that this was an incredible acting feat in itself, and the short documentary about the production that played before the play began really reiterated that.

The filmed production which I saw featured Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Frankenstein and Johnny Lee Miller as the Monster. The pair were absolutely glorious in their roles. I loved Miller's childlike curiosity, and the way that it juxtaposed with his horrific, dark side. Cumberbatch too was brilliant, though I would have liked to see his monster, as I feel the Doctor was very much the epitome of the character that Cumberbatch has sadly been typecast as. That being said, his performance was nothing short of excellent. Naomi Harris was another wonderful addition to the cast! Although she played Cumberbatch's wife, a relatively small role, she acted so subtlety and emotionally, the performance she gave was really heartfelt.

As you would expect of a National Theatre production, the set design and costume was absolutely top notch. The addition of a part-mechanical, part-physical-theatre-y steam train entering the stage not only looked awe inspiring, but made for one of the most exciting scene changed I have ever experienced.

Sadly though, there were elements which I did dislike, such as the addition of an uncomfortable rape scene near to the end. It felt gratuitous, added for the sole purpose of shock value, not because it was necessary or helped the audience to understand the characters involved any better than they did beforehand.

As a whole though, the production was enjoyable, fresh and remarkably well acted.

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