Harley Viveash’s brave version of Frankenstein has been made more difficult by the complete transformation it has un- dergone, being set for the first time entirely in the modern day. This is a highly intelligent decision which pays off. There are several reasons why Frankenstein adapts so well to modern life. As the cast explained, we live in an age where scientific progress is such that the creation of human life from scratch no longer seems a far-off dystopian reality. Frankenstein’s creation of his creature is now a possibility and that makes it all the more powerful.
The production is a devised play; thus the cast have created the entire script from scratch. This is a risky strategy, but the result is impressive. As the cast explained, something like death is not a plot device in their production. The strangulation of Frankenstein’s brother William is not a device to reintroduce the monster, but a real event with emotional consequences. This was poignantly shown in one of the scenes I previewed where Victor’s mother, replacing his father in one of the casts’ major and best changes to the origianl novel and played beautifully by Lamorna Ash delivers her son’s eulogy. This is part of the director’s clever reinterpretation of the play to focus more on the people of Frankenstein, not just the Gothic concept.
The ‘monster’ is always the most intriguing character in any production of Frankenstein, and Nick Finerty is excellent in the role. Although the production strips away the out- wardly monstrous, Finerty’s voice is mesmerising. It has a demonic quality, mixed with an entirely apt social awkwardness.
Frankenstein at the O’Reilly is original, creative and has a talented cast. If you wanted the tired format of Gothic castles and lumbering monsters, you won’t enjoy this production. But, if you want a highly intelligent, modern and forward-thinking production, this is one to watch.