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Cumbiller v Leemerbatch

It was fantastic to see the two versions of 'Frankenstein' from the National Thetre over the last coupole of nights. And what was facinating was that within such a (often sparsely and not well) written play, how radically different the intrpretations and execution of the leading roles was.


Before offering an opinion on the 'who was best?' question a word on the design - utterly stunning. The festoons of lights overhanging (over 1400 dimmers evidently), the often bare set with the addition of some incredible moving pieces (that train was just wonderful) and the quirky, steam-punk Gothic feel was perfect. And the music by Underworld was spot on - no wonder they went off with director Danny Boyle to sort out the Olympic opening ceremony so memorably.


So who won the battle of the creatures and who was the best Victor? The initial 'birth' of the creature saw Benedict Cumberbatch contort through every possible position to eventually stand and walk. He really look his time. Jonny Lee Miller was more lithe, flipping around until standing and he took about half the time to get into an upright position. Maybe somewhere between the two would have been perfect. From then on Miller's Creature matured more quickly and more likeably/sympathitcally I thought whereas BC was an object lesson in observed movement - technically amazing but, I felt, less engaging emotionally.


As Victor, I think BC showed more of the arrogance, misplaced zeal and inteeligence of the sceintist. Miller was more brooding, obsessive and perhaps less varied and nuanced. So BC for me. as Victor and JLM as The Creature was my preferred combination.


Apart from the tremendous train, the dawn sequence was amazingly moving and the pose just at the end where the two reflected Michaelangelo's 'The Creation of Adam' was inspired.



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