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Frankenstein Review (Johnny Lee Miller as The Creature)

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, adapted for stage by, Nick Dear National Theatre at Home 30th April - 8th of May Review by Khai Shaw

Blinding Lights - The Weeknd

Spotify- Apple Music

The opening section of the play really sets the tone for the rest of the show; an eerie, discombobulating affair that will have you questioning an awful lot by the end of it. Miller's tumbling and bumbling physicality as he strives and cries out for the ability to walk is perfectly matched by The Weeknd's use of psychedelic synths, driving drum beats and distorted baselines. When blended together the track almost makes you feel dizzy, swept up in a whirlwind of sensations, just like Miller's creature feels upon his animation.

Goblin - Tyler the Creator

Spotify- Apple Music

Frankie Boyle's direction in this show was great but it was also very clear in terms of his choice of mood; dark, murky and gritty... safe to say there isn't much colour in this production at all! The show not only tackles what it means to be human, but also shows us some of our deepest and darkest traits come to life, in both human form and in the form of the creature. This track feels very much like the musical manifestation of this idea: Tyler's dark lyrics coupled with the tracks booming base and simple chord progressions, feels like a tumble into a black hole, where only the darkest parts of your imagination remain...

Mirror - Lil Wayne feat Bruno Mars

Spotify - Apple Music For me, there is much to be said about the performances that Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller gave in this production, but one of their greatest triumphs was their ability to showcase the symbiotic relationship between the Frankenstein and his creature. As the creature's knowledge and intellect grew, it felt like Frankenstein began to drown in his own. As the creature begins to discover love and passion, Frankenstein realises he does not understand love at all. Their pride in their ability to reason, their cruel streak... it truly feels like two sides of the same coin. Lil Wayne perfectly encapsulates the feeling of realising that you are your own worst enemy, and I think Frankenstein sees come to life in the form of his own creation.

Focus - H.E.R

Spotify - Apple Music Naomie Harris' performance as Elizabeth was beautiful and frustrating all in one. I wanted her to break free of Frankenstein and the restrictions around her. I wanted her to study, to grow, to bask in the things that she had been deprived and not to confine herself to a man who showed no real interest in her. Yet, as her performance went on I was reminded more and more of H.E.R's track. The angelic yet melancholic harp, H.E.R's gliding vocals, the lyrics... all reminded me that Elizabeth truly admires and loves Frankenstein, and will continue to love him in spite of his indifference toward her. She remained faithful and hopeful that their love could grow and this quiet constance is something that Harris portrayed beautifully, right up until the end of her characters journey.

I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down - Sam & Dave

Spotify- Apple Music

For me, so much of this production owes its success to the nuanced and beautifully captured performance of Miller as the creature. We see the creature mistreated, beaten, and shunned at practically every turn and despite making mistakes and passing cruel judgements of his own, we can still see underneath the remnants of his innocence; childlike and curious. You find yourself rooting for him along the way because you see that in spite of all of the pain he has experienced, he still craves for the barest necessities human life has to offer. Sam & Dave, in true deep soul cut fashion, perfectly exemplify this. The driving piano, the swells of the horns, and the woeful tale of their wrongdoings in their lyrics, altogether create this feeling of overcoming in spite of the pain, almost as if it was tailored made for the creature's story.


Honourable mentions: This Woman’s Work- Maxwell

Zealots of Stockholm- Childish Gambino

Please please please let me get what I want- The Smiths


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