The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
March 30, 31, April 1 & 2
by Nick Dear
from the book by Mary Shelley
Directed by Diane Robinson
Phil Nair-Brown – The Creature
Sam Razavi – Victor Frankenstein
Claire Wiggins – Gretel/ Female creature
Rosy Armitage – Clarice
Dan Dryer – Beggar : Gustav / Crofter : Ewan
Abbi Crawford – Beggar : Klaus / Crofter : Rab
Derek Fraser – De Lacey
Giles Newlyn-Bowmer – Felix / Constable
Emily Dennett – Agatha
Lizzie Kroon – Elizabeth Lavenza
Ethan Dryer – William Frankenstein
David Creedon – Monsieur Frankenstein
Maggi Pierce – Servant 1
Peter Joyce – Servant 2
Cherry Briggs – Ensemble
Designer – Judith Berrill
Music Directors – Phil Jones & Scott Smith from Long Way Home Productions
Stage Manager – Gaby Bowring
Deputy Stage Manager – Julian Batstone
Choreographer – Jas Crawford
Costume Design – Lindsay Midali
Hair & Makeup – Chris Horlock
Specialist Properties Designer – Martin Oakley
Lighting Design – Strat Mastoris
Lighting Operation – Suse Crosby
Sound Design – Bob Ryder
Sound Operation – Jeff Woodford
Properties – Di Tidzer
Properties – Doffey Reid
Properties – Lauren Brakes
Set Design, Construction & Painting – Sue Chaplin
Set Design, Construction & Painting – Dave Comber
Set Design, Construction & Painting – Margaret Davy
Set Design, Construction & Painting – Nigel Goldfinch
Set Design, Construction & Painting – Mike King
Set Design, Construction & Painting – Sue Netley
Set Design, Construction & Painting – Gary Walker
Poster, Flyer & Programme Cover Artwork & Design – Judith Berrill
Publicity – Suse Crosby
Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity – Peter Joyce
Promotional Film – Phil Nair-Brown
Dress Rehearsal Photography – Miles Davies Photography
Programme – Suse Crosby
Programme Note #1: Frankenstein
DR wrote : “Welcome to this production of ‘Frankenstein’, If you have ever felt like an outsider; if you’ve ever questioned your ability to be loved or to love; if you’ve ever agonised over the meaning of your existence, but lacked the words to express it, you will seee elements of yourself in Frankenstein’s creature.
The story may have been written in 1817, but the themes are more relevant today than ever: themes of being an outsider, parental neglect, scientific responsibility, the nature of evil and just how humans themeselves create monsters.
Mary Shelley wrote ‘Frankenstein’, as many will know as part of a “‘Ghost story’ competition with husband Percy Shelley and friends Byron and Polidori. She was just 18! It was ‘the year without a summer’, when the eruption of the Indonesian volcano created a permanent ash cloud, creating perfect conditions for writing a Gothic horror story.
Shelley’s novel echoes her own troubled family lie. Her morther died giving birth to her and her father disowned her when she elpoed at 16 in 1814 with Percy Shelley. Her first child, Cara, died that same year, Mary subsequently described a dream in which Clara was reanimated.
There are so many folks to thank for enabling this production of ‘Frankenstein’ to be realised: thank you so much to my wonderful cast, who have been such a delight to work with, to the inspirational creative team who were there from the beginning, to the amazing backstage team and anyone else who helped. Special thanks go to my husband Brian for his support and for being a great sounding board.
Publication Data: March 31 2022
Reviewer: Lily Bach
Text Header: Frankenstein
Frankenstein – this really was a mammoth production and a massive feast for the senses. Every aspect of this production had been considered and thought about in detail. It’s a stylised piece, combining traditional storytelling with staged and choreographed pieces. Director Diane Robinson should be congratulated for an amazing vision of a complex play to perform.
The set was multi-functional and created a background for abstract and uber reality states to be created. A gantry platform used by the Creature alone was above a square which was raised for inside scenes and lowered for outdoor scenes: this multi-purpose set had incredible slightly abstract and stylised bespoke paintings projected on them which in turn took the audience on a trip through an industrial town in Germany, to Lake Geneva, to Mont Blanc, to Scotland, and finally to the Arctic Circle. It is hard to imagine how any other set could have accomplished this.
Massive double panelling at both sides of the stage contained anatomical diagrams and equations from Victor Frankenstein’s studies in trying to build his creature. Props and furniture were minimal but detailed and suited the style of the production.
Phil Jones and Scott Smith from Long Way Home Productions played their specially composed score throughout, live at the side of the stage. They had also created songs for some of the sections. In addition, there was extra sound scaping including arctic wind and the very effective opening of electricity and heartbeat, as the creature came to life. The scenes changed very quickly, and the accompanying sounds and lights were used to great effect and contrast – lighting the Creature in shadows at the beginning and the red silhouette of the townsfolk about to attack the creature are two of the images that stand out. The lighting worked beautifully with the projections, lighting the side panels in different colours and helping to reflect the mood of each scene.
The Creature makeup, including staples on the top most part of the skull, was incredibly effective. All the costumes were appropriate of the mid 19th Century and showed the difference in class of some of the characters.
It was clear that a massive amount of work has gone into this production.
Special mention has to be made of Phil Nair-Brown playing the Creature. He embodied him from top to toe. His every movement captivated the audience, and his performance was truly breath-taking. His journey from wide eyed innocent “child” exploring the world, to the beaten, abandoned and ostracised man who is betrayed at every turn and becomes cruel and vengeful has the audience feeling sympathy, pity and then despair. It’s a performance that is beyond words to applaud: a rare complete gift from an actor to the audience. The scenes between the Creature and Victor Frankenstein, played by Sam Razavi, positively crackled with electricity and energy: such is the quality of these two fine actors.
The scenes with the old blind man De Lacy, played by Derek Fraser, were also superb. The ensemble of actors multi-rolling did fine work supporting the principals. Phil Nair-Brown as the Creature was a tour de force, driving the story and the energy of the play.
Wick Theatre Company usually produce quality performances, but this production was truly special.
With social media giving a platform to comments, here are the views of some patrons.
“Huge congratulations to all those involved in Frankenstein with the Wick Theatre Company at the Barn. Diane Robinson, you have once again bought your wonderful vision to life in such a spectacular way, it looked and sounded great!
And a special mention has to go to the lovely Phil Nair-Brown for his portrayal of Frankenstein. I do not think there are words to describe just how good that was, but phenomenal is the best I can think of. Every inch of your body acted from start to finish and the delivery of every line was perfection.”
“Heading home after seeing The Wick Theatre Company present Frankenstein.
I get irritated when people are dismissive of Non-Professional Theatre. At its best, ‘amateur’ Theatre can be every bit as good as the very best professional production. So it was this evening. A genuinely, gobsmackingly brilliant play. Gloriously designed and realised by director Diane Robinson.
A cast giving knockout performances all over the stage – kudos to Sam Razavi, Dan Dryer, Claire Wiggins, Emily Dennett, Giles Newlyn-Bowmer and all the ensemble.
A special mention to Phil Nair-Brown whose performance as the creature was breath-taking and entirely flawless. A very special performance in a very fine play. Brilliant.”
“Many thanks for organising the theatre visit last evening to see Frankenstein. I found it amazing. The lead actor had such a demanding role, what with the gyrations and movements and speech. It was an enormous part and he was terrific.
I’ve had time to reflect on the moral implications of the drama. To be able to “create” is not enough as we know. Contemporary scientific advances pose similar ethical issues. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should make a “human” being. I thought the emotional questions were very important and came over really well. I’m so glad I went and very much enjoyed the evening.
Thank you for organising the ticket and seating. The whole production was terrific and one of the best I’ve seen from The Wick players.”