Anyone who knows me well will also know that I don’t particularly like going to the cinema. I prefer to watch in the luxury of my own home where I can laugh, cry or whatever in privacy – and without strangers scrunching sweet packets, slurping oversized fizzy drinks or spitting popcorn kernels into the air.
I was also somewhat circumspect about viewing a filmed version of a stage play and how it would translate to the screen.
As to the subject of Frankenstein … I adored the Hammer House of Horror movies as a kid and remember being allowed to stay up late on a Friday or Saturday night to watch them. Invariably Dracula, Sherlock or Frankenstein led – would I be disappointed?
All I can say is that I was captivated.
Nick Dear’s script has a wonderful balance of drama, insight and humour. Danny Boyle’s direction superb, as is the cast. Cumberbatch, in the version we saw, played The Creature with Johnny Lee Miller as Victor Frankenstein. What is intriguing is they alternate roles, which must give them, as actors, a greater understanding of what each is attempting to convey. A stage collaboration that worked beautifully.
Oh, I forget, they weren’t ‘on stage’ – which has to be an accolade to the BBC for their seamless production of the film version. At the end, as the cast took their curtain calls, I wanted to applaud along with the theatre audience who were fortunate enough to have seen the ‘live’ performance.
The entire production was ingenious, even the scene shifts became integral to the play and didn’t detract from the drama, but added to it.
And it was interesting driving home with two very articulate teenagers who were interested in my take on, it as I was in theirs.
Savannah asked me what my favourite scene was. I’d have to say when The Creature met the blind man. The message was obvious, but so movingly delivered with some of the best lighter moments.
What made me laugh the most? Nothing to do directly with the play – except a line which made me think of a friend, who will be my guest here on Sunday. ‘Build me a woman,’ The Creature demands of Frankenstein. I immediately thought of Talli Roland's novel Build a Man!
I would love to see it again, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Victor and Johnny Lee Miller as The Creature, but not yet. My one and only criticism would be that it was a tad too long. By the time Frankenstein is brandishing a gun threatening to shoot his creation my only thought? Oh please do.
Maybe that’s unfair. It’s my first experience of watching a play filmed in the theatre and shown in a cinema. Perhaps the disappointment was that I wasn’t in the audience who had enjoyed this remarkable production. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it.