4, 28 October - 4 November 2012
Sometimes stories can lose their point due to over-familiarity.
This is certainly the case with Frankenstein, where James Whale's famous 1930 film with Karloff has cast a giant shadow
over all subsequent representations of the character. Radio
has an advantage in this respect, as we cannot actually see the monster, and can only imagine him and his awesome power in
Or maybe Mary
Shelley's story is actually about something completely different. This was certainly the impression I received from
Marc Beeby's swift-moving production, whose focus centered more on Frankenstein (James Parker). Although a brilliant
scientist, it was clear that his personal life was quite simply non-existent; hence he channeled all his energies into creating
the monster. By doing so he wanted to prove his claim to fame; that he had somehow transcended the need for an outlet
to express his emotions.
This strategy returned the tale to its romantic roots; it was not about
monsters, but rather about an overreacher who actually upset the balance of nature in his manic desire to prove himself to
those around him. While there was no else to blame, we did feel somehow sorry for Frankenstein; his emotional life was
so crippled that he could not understand how to repair it.
The action moved with a frightening sense of inevitability: once Frankenstein
had been discovered on the point of death and began to tell his tale to Captain Walton (Alun Raglan), we knew that it would
end in violence and death. There was no other way in which the hapless doctor could understand how wrong-headed he had