“Do not go to see the Monstrous Drama, founded on the improper work called FRANKENSTEIN!!! Do not take your wives, do not take your daughters, do not take your families!!!”
Although the latest adaptation of Mary Shelley’s story, scripted by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle, includes nudity and a rape absent from the 1823 staging that prompted this warning, there is little here to shock even the most sensitive of wives and daughters. The Grand Guignol gore that appeared in early drafts of the script has been toned down. One scene even turns into a dance routine like some monstrous hybrid of Oliver! and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
None of this is a bad thing. Some of it is very good. The staging is spectacular, the adaptation largely thoughtful and the monster—played by Jonny Lee Miller on the night I saw the show—is the most inventive and heartfelt I have seen, owing something to Caliban, Charles Laughton’s Hunchback of Notre Dame and even the Elephant Man. Yet this production is far from perfect. There are minor quibbles to be made about occasionally creaky dialogue and supporting performances, but the main problem is the title character.