Frankenstein

Date 31st March 2022
Society Wick Theatre Company
Venue The Barn Theatre, Southwick
Type of Production Musical
Director Diane Robinson
Musical Directors Phil Jones & Scott Smith
Choreographer Jas Crawford

Report

Author: Lily Bach

Frankenstein – this really was a mammoth production and a massive feast for the senses. Every aspect of this production had been considered and thought about in detail. It’s a stylised piece, combining traditional storytelling with staged and choreographed pieces. Director Diane Robinson should be congratulated for an amazing vision of a complex play to perform.

The set was multi-functional and created a background for abstract and uber reality states to be created. A gantry platform used by the Creature alone was above a square which was raised for inside scenes and lowered for outdoor scenes: this multi-purpose set had incredible slightly abstract and stylised bespoke paintings projected on them which in turn took the audience on a trip through an industrial town in Germany, to Lake Geneva, to Mont Blanc, to Scotland, and finally to the Arctic Circle. It is hard to imagine how any other set could have accomplished this. Massive double panelling at both sides of the stage contained anatomical diagrams and equations from Victor Frankenstein’s studies in trying to build his creature. Props and furniture were minimal but detailed and suited the style of the production.

Phil Jones and Scott Smith from Long Way Home Productions played their specially composed score throughout, live at the side of the stage. They had also created songs for some of the sections. In addition, there was extra sound scaping including arctic wind and the very effective opening of electricity and heartbeat, as the creature came to life. The scenes changed very quickly, and the accompanying sounds and lights were used to great effect and contrast - lighting the Creature in shadows at the beginning and the red silhouette of the townsfolk about to attack the creature are two of the images that stand out. The lighting worked beautifully with the projections, lighting the side panels in different colours and helping to reflect the mood of each scene.

The Creature makeup, including staples on the top most part of the skull, was incredibly effective. All the costumes were appropriate of the mid 19th Century and showed the difference in class of some of the characters.

 

It was clear that a massive amount of work has gone into this production.  Special mention has to be made of Phil Nair-Brown playing the Creature. He embodied him from top to toe. His every movement captivated the audience, and his performance was truly breath-taking. His journey from wide eyed innocent “child” exploring the world, to the beaten, abandoned and ostracised man who is betrayed at every turn and becomes cruel and vengeful has the audience feeling sympathy, pity and then despair. It’s a performance that is beyond words to applaud: a rare complete gift from an actor to the audience. The scenes between the Creature and Victor Frankenstein, played by Sam Razavi, positively crackled with electricity and energy: such is the quality of these two fine actors. The scenes with the old blind man De Lacy, played by Derek Fraser, were also superb. The ensemble of actors multi-rolling did fine work supporting the principals. Phil Nair-Brown as the Creature was a tour de force, driving the story and the energy of the play.

Wick Theatre Company usually produce quality performances, but this production was truly special.