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National Theatre Live: Frankenstein (2011)

8.9
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 1,010 users  
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Created by Victor Frankenstein, the one known only as the creature sets out to discover the world and the meaning of life.

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Title: National Theatre Live: Frankenstein (2011)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
The Creature / Victor Frankenstein
...
The Creature / Victor Frankenstein
...
Gretel / Clarice
John Killoran ...
Gustav / Constable
Steven Elliot ...
Klaus
Lizzie Winkler ...
Agatha de Lacey
...
de Lacey
Daniel Millar ...
Felix de Lacey
...
Hayden Downing ...
William Frankenstein
William Nye ...
William Frankenstein
Jared Richard ...
William Frankenstein
...
M. Frankenstein
...
Servant
Martin Chamberlain ...
Servant
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Storyline

Created by Victor Frankenstein, the one known only as the creature sets out to discover the world and the meaning of life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Details

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Release Date:

17 March 2011 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, who share the roles of Doctor Frankenstein and his creature, both went on to play modern-day incarnations of Sherlock Holmes. Cumberbatch played the title role on 'Sherlock (2010) (TV)', while Miller played the role on 'Elementary (2012) (TV)'. Cumberbatch's series set the stories in modern-day London, while Miller's set the stories in modern-day New York City. See more »

Quotes

The Creature: I should be Adam. God was proud of Adam. But Satan's the one I sympathise with. For I was cast out, like Satan, though I did no wrong. And when I see others content, I feel the bile rise in my throat, and it tastes like Satan's bile!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Frankenstein: A Modern Myth (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Boyle's flamboyance, the comedy and the supporting cast don't always work, but the two leads are very strong
5 November 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It was a few years since this show got lots of headlines, not least because of the big names involved on-stage and off; not being much of a cinema goer (the crowds), I didn't see this then but a repeat set of screenings at a local independent cinema recently got me there. I wasn't sure what I expected, but the production itself wasn't totally it. The film opened with a rather self-indulgent interview with those involved, before we launch into a very physical with the monster (Miller in the production I saw) discovering life for the first time. It is a sequence that perhaps goes on too long, but speaks of the bravery and dedication of the actor to the performance – a factor which is very much the heart of the whole piece.

From here we get an aspect which is one of the weaker things – the unnecessary showiness of it. A very 'Broadway Musical' train moves onto the stage and it is one of the bigger touches than felt a bit out of place – like Boyle practicing for the Olympics perhaps? There are too many moments like this through the whole 2 hours and, while spectacular, they add less than you would want for how they often occur. Some work very well in support of the story, but too often they seem just for the sake of showing the audience how big everything is. Regarding the music, this works and I enjoyed the size of the music, but for me the production is never better than when it is simply two characters talking – mostly the lead two, but also some scenes with the monster and others. This is mostly due to the cast, because the writing is variable; at times it is engaging and dramatic, but then it has lines of attempted comedy thrown in here and there – mostly not working.

The camera wisely doesn't worry about showing us the audience, or look at the stage across the audience, but rather lets us be part of that experience and keeps us close to the action and not breaking out to a wider view aside from when the action is slightly off the stage and in the audience area. This helps catch the performances, which are strong in the leads. Miller is great as the creature – it is hard for me to imagine him playing the other role. He is brave with the physicality and also compelling with his more developed self. Cumberbatch fits Frankenstein well; again I would struggle to see him in the other role. He has some weaker material to sell, but he plays well opposite Miller. Johnson is good with him too, while Harris is a good name to have involved, but has little in the way of character. Unfortunately outside of these, the supporting turns are surprisingly weaker than expected; particularly whoever the boy was that played William.

All told though, it is the performances of Miller and Cumberbatch (particularly when together) that stay in the mind more than the set flourishes, misjudged humor, or stagey supporting turns; and on this basis the production is well worth seeing – and for me it would be interesting to see it again with the roles reversed.


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