The focal point of this piece - the night of storytelling that inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein - is an interesting and innovative concept. The intention of the Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre is to combine captivating figures of Romanticism, such as Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, with a sequence of chilling tales to recreate the moment of conception of a legendary literary text.
Unfortunately, the writer-director Lucy Belts has tried to encapsulate too much in this production and the overall effect is a little jumbled. There are too many strains of narratives and too many narrators; indeed, the play could be more coherent if the focus were to remain either on the complex relationships between the literati, or on their night of storytelling.
As a result of narrative excess the cast are forced to double-up but, because they have so little stage-time to clearly delineate each character, there is not always a distinct difference between the various roles that each actor plays. Consequently, we're left feeling a little disengaged from the play’s hectic action but, more than this, we're left with a sense of disappointment that the potential at the heart of this piece hasn’t been fully realised.
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