The (UK) National Theatre’s Frankenstein

I love pretty things, but I also appreciate ugly things that are beautiful when you scratch the surface. This post is about a disturbing but touchingly beautiful play that, after I recovered from the trauma of seeing it, became one of my unlikely favourite things.

Cinemas around the world (including Dendy Canberra) periodically show recordings of plays at National Theatre in London. I confess that I went to a recent screening of Frankenstein largely to see Benedict Cumberbatch naked; I was rather disappointed to find no nudity in the recorded version, but it only took five minutes for me to get so absorbed in the play I didn’t care.

*** This post contains spoilers, you may want to stop reading if you’re planning to see a screening of the play and/or read the book***

The play follows The Creature’s journey and encourages viewers to empathise with him – I really related to his isolation, his frustration at the world’s inconsistencies, and his inability to cope with broken promises. I related to him so much that I forced myself to ignore his early murders; so I was horribly shocked when I then saw him kill in a manner so unambiguous I couldn’t dismiss it. I was so shaken that it took me a few days to figure out why I was so upset – I eventually realised that relating so strongly to The Creature made me wonder how much darkness is in me, whether I’m irreparably damaged.

For quite a while afterward I wished I hadn’t seen this screening, but now I’m so glad I did – it made me think, like great art should, like many of my favourite things do.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, but I am willing to accept goods or discounts in exchange for coverage – businesses considering sponsoring a post are welcome to contact me via my about page.

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