What's it about?
Frankenstein follows the story of Victor Frankenstein as he hunts down the Monster he created that has wreaked havoc on his life.
Quick disclaimer, I want to specify who exactly Frankenstein is. This is a correction I make for people a lot, one that usually results in a slap or medium to light punch, or a "do you always have to be a smart ass?" Yes, I do. This guy right here:
is not Frankenstein. That's Frankenstein's Monster. He's made up of remnants of dead people, and is very much a zombie. Feel free to call him whatever you like, as long as it's not this guy:
Victor Frankenstein. A mad scientist who wanted to play god and prove that he can create life himself (yes I know he looks fairly normal here, but it's the clearest picture I kept finding and plus James McAvoy is a great actor so just bear with me.) He dug up a bunch of various body parts from different people, stitched them together, shocked it with lightning, and created the abominaton that so many people wrongly call Frankenstein. All clear? Good.
What'd I experience?
Now that that's out of the way let's get to the actual show. As soon as I saw that an adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was being performed I knew I had to go see it. When I found out that it was going to be a musical, I was beside myself. Not only for the fact that I am really into musicals, but because I was hoping it would kind of be like the Dracula musical from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. You know, the one with the puppets and stuff. I know the odds were low but I'm a big fan of puppets, so let me dream. The show was also being performed at the Players Theater, one of my personal favorites. Not only do they always put on a spooky themed musical, but it's also right on MacDougal Street and there's an Artichoke Pizza and Insomnia Cookies right next to it along with a ton of cool bars and stores.
The show opened with our explorer heading north towards Antartica and sharing a correspondence with his sister, talking about destiny and obsession and all that. He spots a monstrous figure in the distance, riding across the ice on a sled, and shortly after he comes across a man floating on a piece of ice, barely alive. It turns out to be Victor Frankenstein, and he recounts the whole story of him creating the monster, turning it away, it coming back and killing his baby brother, best friend, and wife, and how he is chasing him North in order to kill him. All of it was very expected for me (I read the novel), but only one part really threw me off.
When they hanged Justine, Victor's old maid, for the murder of Victor's baby brother, William, I have no idea how they did it. They're singing this song about death and all and she steps up on this stool and a noose came down and went over her neck and on the last note of the song they kicked the stool and it looked like she just actually died. Like the lights went out and there's just the silhoutte of her body hanging and swinging there and I'm just sitting there like... I can tell I wasn't the only one who was concerned, because even the guy sitting a few seats down from me very audibly said "what the fuck, she's dead" and I just responded "yeah I don't know what we should be doing right now." But then sure enough a few scenes later she's dancing around and singing as a ghost haunting Victor, and I'm freaking out because I don't know if she's a legitimate ghost or not.
Aside from the possible murder that I witnessed, the show brought up the same ideas that I love about Frankenstein. The one that was pushed the most during the show seemed to be the whole aspect of whether or not Victor was the one to really blame for the murders. Yes, he created the Monster and yes, he did deny the Monster what he wanted which resulted in the murders. But in the end, it was the monster's choice to actually commit the murders. Consequently though, with the same argument Victor did seal their fates by knowingly refusing the Monster's wishes despite knowing what the outcome would be. So it could also be said that it is on him. It's one of those "didn't pull the trigger but he built the gun" sort of deals. For me, it's hard to say who's more at fault, the one who committed the act or the one that caused the act to be committed in the first place.