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March 13, 2017 / basabbott

Playing God – reviews of Frankenstein & Haydn’s Creation

Review

Frankenstein
Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds

For Blackeyed Theatre, adapter John Ginman has absorbed Mary Shelley’s novel, thrown it at the wall but retained the essence of the story.
Gone is the literary convention whereby the creature is telling his story to Victor, who is telling it to Captain Walton, who is writing it to his sister.
The Arctic shipboard scenes are retained, with Victor’s narrative enacted for the Captain, both being on voyages of discovery.
As Frankenstein, Ben Warwick gives a spirited, passionate, heart-throb performance, full of youthful enthusiasm and bitter disillusion.
As his creation was a kind of model, so here it is an extraordinary full sized puppet of aluminium and foam rubber, made by Yvonne Stone.
Even when you can see it being moved and voiced by adjacent actors, it has a macabre magic about it.
In the book you never feel that the characters inhabit the real world. It is a psychological novel; and this stage version captures that better than any I have seen.

Basil Abbott

Haydn’s Creation
Eye Bach Choir

As Frankenstein was playing God, and the Age of Reason was denying his
existence, Haydn composed The Creation.
Inspired by the starry firmament, the oratorio has similar sentiments
to the hymn How Great Thou Art.
It begins with a suggestion of primal chaos, with the universe itself
tuning up. Under Leslie Olive’s direction the orchestra soon
established order.
The moment in creation when there was light was carried off with great
drama.
The velvet bass voice of Dhilan Gnanadurai was best for darkness on the
face of the deep and the heady maelstrom of pre-history.
The crystal soprano tones of Cheryl Enever depicted and praised the
beauties of the earth, while the lyrical tenor voice of Daniel
Bartlette held the storyline.
The quickening world was suggested by the zest of the choir, with
plenty of attack and excitement.
From Day 6, and the making of man, the mood changes. Haydn ends before
creation goes awry. But all involved picked up on the feeling that Eve
was about to reach for the fruit.

Basil Abbott

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