Review: Frankenstein by National Youth Theatre – Southwark Playhouse – 25th October – 30th November 2019

FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley. National Youth Theatre ; NYT ; Southwark Playhouse ; London, UK ; 25 October 2019 ; Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

When I was lucky enough to attend the press night for this show, we had just come out of the Halloween season, so it was quite a good time of year to see it.

Naively, I was expecting the usual, run of the mill production of this famous Mary Shelley classic, but of course, I forgot that I was actually about to see a production by the National Youth Theatre, there’s always a fresh take on a classic – to be honest, I don’t know how they come up with all their ideas! They have an amazing creative team 👌

FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley Adapted by Carl Miller ;National Youth Theatre ; NYT ; Southwark Playhouse ; London, UK ; Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

This version has been adapted by Carl Miller, which is a very modern version of the story we all know and love.

The direction is by Emily Gray and is absolutely brilliant, again, the production manages a create a world of various locations in a narrow, catwalk style layout, with the audience on each side, so the actors are again playing to both sides of the room.

The set is minimal but used imaginatively and is very effective.

FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley Adapted by Carl Miller ; National Youth Theatre ; NYT ; Southwark Playhouse ; London, UK ; 25 October 2019 ;
Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

The Story

This play is a definitely a 2019 take on the classic tale of a scientist who creates a AI human-like robot who, some may say, is this creation is too successful, when the AI becomes independent and causes havoc and chaos in the world.

The play covers themes including, ethics, morals, revenge, ambition friendship, family, relationships and more.

FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley Adapted by Carl Miller ; National Youth Theatre ; NYT ; Southwark Playhouse ; London, UK ; 25 October 2019
Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

My Thoughts

Like I mentioned earlier, I was expecting the classic tale, so was a little confused at the beginning, as I was wondering why we weren’t getting straight into the book adaptation.

As I followed the production and it dawned on me that this was a new version, I followed the story of the ambitious Shell, played by the talented Sarah Lusack as a scientist who wants to create the best AI human possible, it then started to feel like the original story and started to make sense.

FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley Adapted by Carl Miller; National Youth Theatre ; NYT ; Southwark Playhouse ; London, UK ; 25 October 2019 ;
Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

I was super-impressed by the use of VR within this show – Yes! This is for the audience too 😊 We were all given a VR headset under our seats & although I am no gamer-girl, I was delighted with what we saw and how itv integrated into the story we were watching unfold.

The show raises big ethical questions, that we may soon have to start answering for real, once AI technology reaches the standard that we all hope it will one day.

Questions such as, will AI humans have the same rights as humans, if they become dangerous will it be unethical to ‘shut it down’ when it/he/she is programmed to have feelings, memories etc…just like us – it seems there’s no real black/white answer to this dilemma.

This show gave us a glimpse into the type of world, we may be living in, sooner than we think – definitely food for thought.

FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley Adapted by Carl Miller ; National Youth Theatre ; NYT ; Southwark Playhouse ; London, UK ; 25 October 2019
Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

More from The National Youth Theatre

News on the current 2019 West End NYT season – Click here

Read some Past NYT Reviews;

Great Expectations at Southwark Theatre – Click here

Victoria’s Knickers at Soho Theatre – Click here

Consensual at Soho Theatre –Click here

The Host at St James’ Church, Piccadilly – Click here

Othello at Ambassadors Theatre – Click here

Thanks so much for reading!

Chanel x

Chanel Williams

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