Theatre review: Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster, Traverse Theatre

It’s not often that a piece of theatre made by and with young people in their teens takes centre stage at the Traverse during the Fringe, and scores a massive hit with both audiences and critics.

Frankenstein: How to Make A Monster, Traverse Theatre (Venue 15)

Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster, Traverse Theatre * * * *

That’s what has happened during this year’s Festival, though, to this thrilling show from the Beatbox Academy at Battersea Arts Centre, which takes Mary Shelley’s great 1818 science-fiction novel, and delivers a powerful 70-minute version of it using nothing but a bare stage, six brilliant young performers who sing and beatbox like young gods, terrific lighting design by Sherry Coenen, and outstanding choreography and co-direction from Conrad Murray and David Cumming.

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What Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster offers is neither a literal retelling of the story, nor an effort to update it to our own age of monsters created by misplaced human ingenuity. Instead, it’s more like a beatbox opera, or what the company call “a live concept album”, that captures the mood and meaning of the story – the arrogance, the fear, the pain of exclusion suffered by the monster – through unbelievably rich and varied sound and songs, and striking visual images created only with the performers’ bodies.

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