Making Monsters (3 stars)

Mary Shelly's monster is brought to life in this entertaining look at how the famous creature came to be

Making Monsters

The story of how Mary Shelly imagined her most famous story, Frankenstein, has become legendary. And while the Golden Fire Theatre Company's re-enactment of the meeting between Shelly, Byron and company is light on chills, it springs enough laughs and intrigue to warrant a revisit to the novel.

On vacation in Geneva, Mary Shelly and a company of struggling artists decide to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. From here, Shelly delves into the world of science and surgery. After days of struggle, she awakes from a horrific dream of a scientist who created life. And the rest is literary history.

While the character of Byron, perhaps inevitably, tends to hog the limelight in a camp and occasionally frustrating performance, the rest of the cast hold their own and maintain the focus on the real centre of importance. It swerves into the ridiculous from time to time, but in general the humour, which is well placed and executed, does not undermine the overall tone of mystery and intrigue.

Since they languish in alcohol and other indulgences, it can be difficult to like the characters, but Mary Shelly attracts sympathy for her struggle and intellectual curiosity. And, while even at 50 minutes it feels a little bit stretched, there is enough here for those familiar and unfamiliar with the great novel to warrant a visit.

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 27 Aug (not 14, 21), 5.05pm, £10 (£8).

Making Monsters

  • 3 stars

The Golden Fire Theatre Company Geneva, 1816. Dared to write a terrifying ghost story, Mary Shelley delves into the secrets of surgery, science and life itself to come up with an original monster. On a mad artistic tour with her lover, her step-sister and new friend Lord Byron, she begins writing a ghost story that…


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