Tag: Mary Shelley

Don’t Look Away Presents FRANKENSTEIN

Snapshots of modern horror

By Owen James

Don’t Look Away’s modern-day production of Frankenstein presents the classic tale reinterpreted to face issues of tolerance, diversity, sanctuary and acceptance.

Frankenstein Image by Sarah Walker.jpg

The horror of this Frankenstein comes not from a fictional, gothic world, but from the mirror that this production holds to the horrors of contemporary Western society. We are asked to reflect on our own place in the world, as Frankenstein’s monster desperately tries to find its own.

The stripped-back script by Lally Katz (after Mary Shelly) presents us with every necessary moment for plot development, but no more. Within a tight 65 minutes, the familiar but gargantuan story is totally reinvented for a modern audience, and then thrown at us in a series of fast-paced vignettes of both drama and comedy, with the themes and characters given a welcome priority. Director Phil Rouse ensures these vignettes are seamlessly connected, finding the thematic flow between sharp bubbles of action and moments of heightened dramatic tension.

The choice of Chantelle Jamieson as The Creation is a compelling and powerful one, her gender and ethnicity intrinsically linked to the thematic content of both the play and the character. She presents a Creature not unlike a possible young woman of today – lost in a confusing world without guidance – and draws every bit of intertextuality out of the text possible, ensuring the audience is left both uncomfortable and amused. With mesmerising stage presence in every scene, it is unmistakably her journey we are following.

The titular Victor himself is presented through an incredibly physical performance by Michael McStay. This Victor is not an arrogant scientist but a man as lost and confused as his own creation. Although presenting levels of both eye-opening physicality and balanced subtlety, McStay’s dramatic side could not always match his natural affinity for comedy.

Their performances are joined with beautifully timed assistance from Martin Quinn as the onstage assistant. Some of the best comedic moments came from the presence of Quinn’s movement or assistance onstage, and I would almost love to have seen more from this quirky addition.

The bold and inventive sound design by Neil McLean creates the perfect atmosphere, and also adds to the comedy of the piece with the synthetic texture of pulsing 80’s beats. Lighting by Richard Whitehouse is evocative and resourceful, matched by sets and costumes by Martelle Hunt, which are simple but incredibly effective.

When exposed and stripped back, the themes and characters of Frankenstein are hauntingly relevant to modern issues prevalent worldwide. The uncompromising sharp wit of Don’t Look Away’s tight production ensures these themes will continue to turn around in your mind long after you leave the theatre. Ultimately we are faced with a question of acceptance, and a challenge to embrace the ignored.

Frankenstein runs at TheatreWorks in St Kilda until July 29, tickets through theatreworks.org.au

Image by Sarah Walker

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A Remarkable True Story: THE PRICE OF GENIUS

A cabaret of Beethoven music?

You’re kidding, right?

The Price of Genius: A Daughter of the Revolution is the brainchild of Melbourne music academic Sally Collyer, and unites two of her passions: classical music, and an extraordinary untold story of a remarkable woman.

 Price of Genius MW

In an era of Beethoven’s music and Shelley’s poetry, and a time of great upheaval and revolt, Mary Wollstonecraft changed the world forever when she wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women.  She married an anarchist, demanded sexual equality, and gave birth to both feminism and the famous Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein.

But …

Mary Wollstonecraft had another daughter.

This is her story.

 Price of Genius IC

The Price of Genius: A Daughter of the Revolution opens Thursday October 22 and runs until Sunday October 25 at The Butterfly Club in South Melbourne.   It stars the beautiful Ilsa Cook in the role written specifically for her, with renowned pianist Katherine Gillon at the piano, and is the most innovative and unusual cabaret you’re likely to see this year.

And the end of this story is guaranteed to stay with you long after the final chord has died away…

 

Ticket prices: $22 full / $17 concession or groups of 8 or more

Bookings: www.thebutterflyclub.com

Enquiries: 9690 2000

Performed by Ilsa Cook
Accompanied by Katherine Gillon
Directed by Kim Edwards

Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Book and lyrics by Sally Collyer