Frankenstein – 10 possible meanings to Shelley's masterpiece


While in London last month, post-BBC Showcase, we had the incredible good fortune to be able to see Frankenstein, which is currently at the National Theatre. Running through 2 May, this is THE impossible ticket to get at the moment as it is sold out throughout the entire run. In a nutshell, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, plain and simple. Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) directs the stage production which stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Last Enemy, Atonement) as Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting) as the Creature. The night we were there, Benedict was ill and was replaced quite well, I might add, by Daniel Ings, but Jonny Lee Miller was nothing short of hauntingly stunning (or stunningly haunting) as the Creature.

Find yourself with no tickets or nowhere the National Theatre anytime soon? Not to worry. Beginning tomorrow, 17 March, theatres around the world will be broadcasting this incredible performance as part of National Theatre Live, an on-going effort to bring quality theater to the world’s stage. For a list of theatres wherever you are around the world, click here for more information and tickets.

Personally, I had far more questions than answers after seeing the performance last month. Sadly, never having read the original Mary Shelley book, my frame of reference for Frankenstein was always Boris Karloff and, even more sadly, Peter Boyle. While I absolutely loved Peter Boyle in Young Frankenstein, fortunately, I knew enough to know that Mel Brooks’ take wasn’t quite the literal adaptation of the Mary Shelley’s creation that she had envisioned.

The ability to go to a theatre performance, read a book, or see a television program that provokes more questions than answers is very rare. This is one of those rare occasions. Fortunately, the BBC has expertly put pen to paper and spelled out 10 possible meanings that immediately came to mind after seeing the performance and immediately made me want to put Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein next up on the tellyspotting reading list. Not convinced yet?

All I can say is get tickets to the National Theatre performance somehow, or go to a theatre near you as part of National Theatre Live and see Frankenstein close up beginning tomorrow. Well worth the time.