Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is not conventionally what we might refer to as a timeless work of literature. It is clearly a product of its time, fashioned from the particular obsessions of its age and demonstrating the changing view of science that characterised the early nineteenth century. It is true that the themes of Frankenstein have made it relevant through the generations, but Nick Dear’s script is a sublime theatrical blueprint that draws the focus to those themes that truly resonate in our age.
Lee Jones tackles the role of Frankenstein’s creation with an amazing energy. He approaches a long exposition with no dialogue beautifully and shows the growth and development of a man born as an adult reasonably well. There are perhaps some timing issues with this as the ebb and flow of his development seems somewhat curtailed…
The rest of this post is published on Australian Stage.
- That Guy Who Watches Canberra Theatre was mildly impressed
- Frank McKone was keen to tell us how old he is while praising Dear
- and Ron Cerabona explores the context
Wednesday, 8 May 2013 at 6:01 pm
I tend to almost agree but I’m not entirely sure whether it’s the script or the playing which is at fault – I think there’s a bit more room for Victor Frankenstein to be played as a magnificent arrogant bastard, rather than the somewhat wimpish ineffectual figure we got. Anyway, my thoughts at
Thursday, 9 May 2013 at 9:30 am
Oh, I like the wimp! It leaves that two-thirds period a little flat perhaps, but I really like this idea that all he’s really good at is making people. Interacting with them and manipulating them is beyond his capability!
Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 5:07 am
Oh, one other thing I didn’t find a way to squeeze into my review – it is fairly remarkable that Mary Shelly was just 18 when she wrote Frankenstein – which I think is the youngest I can think of any writer who’s created something that’s had that lasting a cultural impact.
Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 6:32 pm
Well yes, it’s noteworthy, but even 18 wasn’t as young in 1816 as it is now; at that age in that era the average Pom would have already been in the workforce for seven years, and she spent two years on it, at a critical point of maturation that we usually see later in our era because we think children should be mollycoddled.
Michaelangelo was developing his departure from conventional Renaissance composition towards his characterstic fluidity at the age of 17. Coleridge was only a little older (23) when he knocked out ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and ‘Kubla Khan’. Henry Lawson was 20 when he managed to get the Bulletin to publish his ‘Song of the Republic’, which, though it could be considered an abject failure and a trite bit of nonsense, still had substantial cultural impact.
I guess it’s young, but young people in our era would be capable of more if we stopped telling them they’re not capable!
Sunday, 12 May 2013 at 10:52 am
Even so, it wasn’t exactly typical of the era, particularly for women – Jane Austen was 36 before her first novel was published, the Bronte sisters were 31 (Charlotte with Jane Eyre) and 30 (Emily with Wuthering Heghts) respectively,. George Eliot was 39 before her first novel hit the stands.