Friday, March 18, 2011

Frankenstein via National Theatre Live: FLAILZ

Drove an hour an a half to see two hours of theatre today. There's a quirky, utterly adorable little theatre that's on the NTLive roster not horribly far away, so today I got to see Danny Boyle's Frankenstein.


I made a list of things to think about when I was capable of doing more than flailing my hands around, but after an hour and a half car ride home and a leisurely family dinner, I STILL haven't managed to come down yet. You can't see me as I type, but I keep stopping to flail.

I don't have much attachment to the Frankenstein myth and even less to Shelly's book, so narrative changes didn't faze me at all. Though I do want to reread the book now.

All star cast, all star production team. The set/lights/costumes/makeup/FX/sound designs were all fantastic. Clear, purposeful, non-distracting, and lovely. Not a show about design, but a show VERY well supported by its design. Also, I would like to wear Frankenstein's first coat. THOSE SLEEVES WERE BEAUTIFUL.

HOLY CRAP PHYSICALITY! I swear, Benedict Cumberbatch controls every single tendon in his body. The first twenty minutes of the show, especially, awed me. The show's definitely at risk of alienating the audience (and theatre gods help you if you don't know the Frankenstein story!) for that first chunk, but it worked SO WELL.

Aaaand there was definitely a point towards the end of the show that the Monster (Cumberbatch) was in breeches and an open jacket. My fangirl brain hijacked the rest of me and I COULDN'T STOP STARING AT THE ABS. WTF, self? I'm not a abs gal, AND the scene was engaging. Attack of shallow me!

Seeing live theatre that wasn't live! Was totally fine and unbothered by the "this is recorded" fact until curtain call, when my need to show my appreciation to cast and crew was at war with the "across the pond and only seeing this via some very lovely cameras" thing. Academic brain noted that there were a few beats that got considerably larger laughs from the UK audience; likewise, others clicked with the US audience. Lost a couple lines because we laughed when the UK audience didn't (so there was no laughter pause from the actors).

Other thinky things about US vs UK theatre, with regards to little fixes. Noticed a few small things (namely, a bald cap that just wanted to be freeeeeeeeee!) that, in the US, would have had techies flying around backstage in an attempt to fix with whatever means necessary. Less so in the UK?

There were a few interview clips before the show started; in one Johnny Lee Miller talked about finding his Monster in his Frankenstein. Was mildly disappointed that we had it spelled out pre-show, as I'd like to have discovered that for myself. He had some vocal quirks early on that I think would have clued me in. But I didn't get to make that discovery, sadly.

Definitely some changes from the previews; notably, FAR less nudity than I expected. Wondering if it was a change made in previews or a change made for this show (which would make me sadfaced).

It's HOURS later and I'm still SO FLAILY.

I say it often when I see a show that rocks me, but THAT is what theatre is supposed to do. Alas, I have now used up the few words I had remaining. AM RELIANT ON CAPSLOCK TO EXPRESS MYSELF.

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