Venue: C venues - C aquila
19 August 2011 WOS Rating: Fantasmagoriana attempts to imagine exactly what happened on the evening that Mary Shelley supposedly first conceived Frankenstein, in a ghost story writing contest that some say took place between Lord Byron, Mary Shelley (then Godwin), Percy Shelley, John Polidori and Claire Claremont (Mary’s sister).
Scholars regularly debate whether this actually happened, but most agree that
Frankenstein was written around this time, so it’s an interesting premise for a play. Sadly the writing is fairly dreadful, and the performances even worse.
The character of Byron is written absolutely terribly, with no seductiveness or enchantment or even sense of scandal about him. The other characters are equally poorly created and ill-researched. Of course it’s impossible to know exactly what these people were like, but to write such fascinating literary and historical figures as so boring and uninteresting is a very bad move. The language of the dialogue is bizarre as well, only occasionally fitting with the style of the period.
There is some early promise from Jack Oxley as Polidori, but overall the performances are grating and not at all believable. There's also a sense of pretentiousness and arrogance in the acting and the writing that’s unbearable. The whole piece is very much overacted, causing any literary in-jokes to fall flat.
There are glimpses of nice direction from Georgia Hume, but it doesn’t rescue the terrible script. Even the title is ridiculous, taken from the French title of the (originally English) book of stories the characters read aloud to begin with. If this is supposed to be subversive or clever it hasn’t worked.
- Chris Wheeler
Related Content Back to Edinburgh Homepage
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
X Factor musical titled I Can't Sing!, opens Palladium March 2014 The forthcoming X Factor musical will be called I Can't Sing! The Musical and will premiere at the L... Tanzi Libre First things first, it's great to see the Southwark Playhouse open again. Set halfway down New... Clint Eastwood on board to direct Jersey Boys film? Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood has reportedly been signed up to direct the film version of Jersey B... Michael Coveney: Big Apple bites and Manhattan memories You should always do new things in familiar cities. Over the past few days in New York, I walked a... Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p... : Kendal & co in Podcast Relatively Speaking Q&A Last night (21 May 2013), 140 Whatsonstage.com theatregoers attended Relatively Speaking at the West... Kimberley Walsh & Denise Van Outen toast Tointon in 1st Night Photos: Relatively Speaking Strictly Come Dancing stars Kimberley Walsh, Denise Van Outen and Artem Chigvintsev toasted former S... ATG acquires Broadway's largest theatre The Foxwoods, home of Spider-Man In another significant step for transatlantic theatre relations, the UK’s biggest theatre ... Sheila Hancock shows wild side in Video: Barking in Essex trailer As this new trailer reveals, Sheila Hancock has had a dramatic TOWIE-style makeover for her forthcom... : Critics convinced by Review Round-up Relatively Speaking? Lindsay Posner's revival of Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking opened at the Wyndham's Theatre las...