When I was asked if I wanted to review this production, I was interested in seeing it immediately. My understanding was that it was written by the AUB Production team, and therefore it was going to be an interesting piece of theatre that I wouldn’t have seen before, and would not see again. When I initially arrived, I read a notice with the general plot line with words such as “steampunk” and “immersive theatre”, and I wondered what on earth I had gotten myself into. As it happens, it was a brilliant, thought provoking production that everyone involved should be decidedly proud of.
The barebones of the plot was centred around Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but instead of the monster dying as originally stated in the text, the monster survived. He found a Mrs Frankenstein and between them they created children to continue their legacy. Those children then created their own children, always searching for the perfect formula but never quite getting it right, until their most recent prototype. But all doesn’t go quite to plan.
The performance started as soon as the audience entered the Shelley Theatre, with actors from the production lurking amongst the unnerved audience members and attempting to draw them into conversation. Whilst it wasn’t outwardly scary, there was a slightly menacing air about it which was very effective, and although I jumped out of my skin when one of the actors appeared at our table with no warning, it really added to the atmosphere and the experience.
I genuinely couldn’t pick out a particularly strong character, or a cast member who stood out; they appeared to work as an equal team throughout and it made the play more powerful. Each member of the cast was entirely engrossed in the production, portrayed their characters perfectly, and were entirely committed for the duration of the performance. They were all very talented and there wasn’t a dull moment. Through puppeteering, immersive theatre, dance and contemporary theatre they took the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions and ended the show making each of us look at ourselves and reflect on what footprint we are leaving on the earth, and what legacy each of us will leave behind.
The performance touches on a number of deeply personal issues throughout including love, control, the feeling of not belonging or fitting in and body confidence, along with a dystopian view of Artificial Intelligence and what it could mean for the world. These messages were delivered with sensitivity and humour, with the array of very eccentric and bizarre characters.
The lighting and set were brilliant, but I must commend the Make-up and Prosthetics designers for the costumes and SFX make-up. It was incredibly professional and made the production even more special.
Overall, this was a brilliant experience and one I will not forget in a hurry. They thoroughly deserved their standing ovation and I hope they enjoyed their final performance.