Pros: Brilliant acting coupled with a beautiful set.
Cons: Slightly underwhelming representation of the ‘living dead’.
Having studied Frankenstein previously, I was intrigued to see a different twist on the events which led Mary Shelley to write her famous story. This piece presents the idea that the events described in Shelley’s novel, i.e. resurrecting people, may not be so fictitious, and that she got her inspiration from a scientist and necromancer, Victor Darvell, who worked near Lake Geneva.
The play opens with eerie, dramatic music which, alongside the beautifully designed set, brings the audience back into the early 1800’s. Hanna Wilkinson does a really great job of making the best out of the small, intimate place that is the Etcetera theatre; it really does look like a dark and brooding chamber where macabre scientific experiments would take place. The costumes are well designed and the props used well, although the guns, obviously toys, did make me smile.
Almost all the performers gave it their best. Samantha Kamras, as Mary Shelley, came across as a rational character with interesting dialogue. The creature had the curiosity of a small child, and this lead to questions about humanity as a whole, the meaning and consequences of fear, and a discussion on the patriarchal society in the 19th century. Unfortunately, the look of the creature was slightly underwhelming, as he looked more human than the monstrosity he was described to be in Mary Shelley’s novel. Peter Dewhurst’s depiction of Victor Darvell was brilliant, as he played the part of the scientist, student and father well throughout. My favourite parts were certainly the snappy dialogue between Victor and Pastor Cornelius, played by Mike Anfield, as it showed outright how science and religion can be at odds with each other. Also, this sequence brought some comic relief, making the audience laugh countless times. One small problem for me was the character of Lord Byron who, from what I have read, was a very charming and social character, and in this production comes across as a rather reclusive presence. However, this certainly didn’t deter me from enjoying Tristan Roger’s presentation of him.
This production relies heavily on dialogue, having the action sequences right at the beginning and end. By the end of the show, it did become a little difficult to stay concentrated, especially because of the noise from the pub below. Having said that, I enjoyed the script for what it was and despite a couple of small issues, it was a very good show. I enjoyed it much more than I anticipated. This is an intriguing take on a well-known novel, bringing both author and protagonist together on the same stage.
Written by: Robert Pope and Ian Dixon Potter
Directed by: Courtney Larkin
Producer: Golden Age Theatre Company
Box office: 020 7482 4857
Booking link: https://www.ticketea.co.uk/tickets-theatre-the-resurrectionist/
Booking until: 9th October