Thursday, November 1, 2018

reviews - FRANKENSTEIN - Southwest Shakespeare Company

Jesse James Kamps and Joshua Murphy
photo by Laura Durant
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through November 10.

"Almost exactly two hundred years ago, a young woman named Mary Shelley created one of the classics of gothic horror with her masterpiece of literature, "Frankenstein." ...Quinn Mattfeld, one of Southwest Shakespeare Company's new co-Producing Artistic Directors, has adapted his own dramatization of this classic story of a man who creates a living monster from pieces of corpses which sticks fairly close to Shelley's original work. While it isn't entirely successful, with an exceptional cast and some impressive creative aspects it does amount to an interesting study of the impact of a thoughtless creator playing God and also a lovely homage to Shelley's original work.
..Mattfeld uses the narrative framework of the novel of Shelley's work and jettisons just about all that was added to the famous Universal 1931 film. That decision may be slightly disappointing for anyone unfamiliar with Shelley's novel or who is a fan of the film and its elaborate laboratory scenes where the creature is brought to life, since the creation of the monster isn't even scene in this adaptation. However, it does paint a compassionate picture of both Victor and the Creature and gives much insight into their plights....There is much to admire in Mattfeld's script though also a few shortcomings. While the cuts Mattfeld made from Shelley's novel make sense and work well to shorten the story and tighten the plot, act one is still a bit plodding, long and talkative. ..However, in act two these narrative moments are very effective, as they allow the Creature to let us know his inner thoughts and feelings before he has mastered the ability to speak them. ...The cast is exceptional. Jesse James Kamps evokes the right combination of obsession and drive along with a secretive nature that what he is doing is wrong ...Joshua Murphy infuses the Creature with empathy along with a heightened amount of sympathy for what Victor has inflicted on him. ...While fans of the many film versions may be slightly disappointed in how this adaptation of Frankenstein doesn't include any of the famous scarier moments, Southwest Shakespeare Company's production has talented creative aspects and a very good cast who derive rich characters in this adaptation that is faithful to Shelley's original novel......... " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"..What makes this new adaptation of Shelley’s classic novel dramatically interesting is what Mattfeld has included and what he’s taken out. The omission of certain characters and the streamlining of events are all good decisions... It begins in the way you would want all Gothic horrors to begin, particularly one that opens just ahead of Halloween; on a dark and stormy night....." -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

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