Monday, 21 February 2011

Frankenstein (National Theatre)

Danny Boyle has a go at directing a play. So there's that to look forward too, you know, 'cause Trainspotting and 28 Days Later are fab films, hey, also there's a gimmick, the two lead actors are taking it in turns so it's a surprise on the night!
Right, first of all I knew he wouldn't be able to make the transition from film to theatre, secondly as soon as I heard the gimmick I knew it would be worse than originally feared. There is no way that both of those actors can play both those parts equally as good as each other. I've seen Johnny Lee Miller on stage before, he's not that impressive, yes, he has a cute profile, but I prefer him on film, he's actually in one of my top ten favourite films and he's really good. I knew there would be no problem with Benedict Cumberbatch, you can see he's a terrifyingly good actor, he would be fine in either role. And that's the main problem with the gimmick, you know that Cumberbatch is probably better in both roles and an ideal casting would be for him to play both at the same time.
We got Cumberbatch as the creature, he was really good, he was the only good thing in the play.
In fact, if he hadn't been there it would have been a dead loss. Frankenstein is not the best story for stage, not enough happens and so to compensate this Boyle made loads of stuff happen at the beginning, we're all impressed by the fact the whole Olivier theatre looks like a cave, then wow! Nudity! And a steam-punk train that had nothing to do with the plot! A Lion King sunrise and lots of Enya-type music playing while a naked Cumberbatch writhed around for twenty minutes. Finally when the two met they talked for what seemed like hours of the most boring staging I' ever seen, they just swapped sides every five minutes and Dr F took off layers of clothing to reveal quite a nice costume. BORING.
So the staging didn't impress me, the story didn't impress me, they should have rewritten it! Frankenstein is boring!! And the other actors didn't impress me. Naomie Harris had no character- there were no real characters!! Only the monster was interesting! The guy playing the father was awful, the kid was awful, like the gay kid from Billy Elliot or something, grinning and dancing around after he'd been murdered!
There were no real characters for the actors to play, I'm sure Johnny Lee Miller does an excellent creature, he probably plays it more vulnerable than Cumberbatch's angry bastard but his Dr Frankenstein was blah. I have a feeling Cumberbatch's doctor would be interesting but I really don't want to sit through it again to find out.


  1. What is your top ten film that Johnny Lee Miller is in? PLEASE say it's Hackers.

  2. Nup.
    It's that boring film about the shell-shocked poets of the first world war that I like.