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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

From 16 critic and 42 member reviews
Members say: Disappointing, Ambitious, Confusing, Slow, Great staging

About the show

Ensemble for the Romantic Century's new piece uses excerpts from the 1818 edition of the novel, music, and dance interwoven with Mary Shelley’s letters and diaries to explore both the classic story and its creation. More…

The joys and perils of motherhood, the hovering shadow of infant mortality, and the sting of loneliness and rejection merge as Mary Shelley creates her masterwork, 'Frankenstein.' The Creature that Dr. Frankenstein produces, an assemblage of disparate elements, coalesces into a monster with a human soul. His horrific appearance conceals the gentlest heart. Through no fault of his own, he is forced to descend into evil deeds. Featuring 19th century music, from Liszt, Schubert, and Bach.

Woman Around Town

"Symbiotic Romantic music by Liszt, Bach, Schubert, and Busoni are stunningly performed...Formidably imaginative choreography by actor/dancer Robert Fairchild acts as vertebrae and gut...This is a banquet of sensation and unyielding emotion. The unfortunate weak links in this otherwise gorgeous effort are Mia Vallet and Paul Wesley. Neither actor has presence...This extraordinary evening is, however, well worth attending for so many other reasons." Full Review

Musical Theater Review

“Wolf’s script provides an arresting mirroring of the creative imagination with the unpredictability of reality...The plain-spoken delivery is a bit jarring against the eloquence of the words themselves, the heightened atmosphere created by the music, and the aura of the characters involved...But such criticism aside, Wolf – and Fairchild – deserve monstrous credit for providing another look at and dimension to this oft-told tale of science and creativity gone awry.” Full Review

Stage Buddy

“The fusion of chamber music, stunning visuals, and narrative....Fairchild definitely stands out as the Monster, expertly embodying someone who is new to the concept of moving...He also encapsulates the pathos and desperation of someone who is misunderstood...It’s always satisfying to gain deeper insight into a beloved classic, and ‘Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’ does just that, as it links the real life angst of an author to her most famous work.” Full Review


“The trim and attractive Fairchild dances up a storm, and his contorted, tortured movements evoke the ugliness and self-loathing of the creature often referred to by its inventor's surname...The choreography vibrates with his incredible physical vigor...Wolf's concept, though overly ambitious in all it tries to weave together, is actually fairly easy to follow...Isn't likely to be a must-see for the average tourist...But there are plenty of highlights to remember.” Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

“Music is integrated into the production, with mezzo-soprano Swann...and an ensemble of talented musicians providing the accompaniment...The spoken passages are the weakest aspect...It is the dancing of Fairchild and the balletic conception of the creature that gives the production its chief distinction...Highly unusual in the pantheon of ‘Frankenstein’ endeavors, and despite the monster’s violent behavior, the emphasis is on the beauty of the production rather than on horror.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“So much lies behind the creation of this novel...but you wouldn’t know that from the uneven, unfocused, undefined creature that is ‘Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’...Wolf has not created a coherent evening of theater...Unfortunately, the actors suffer under the burden of the show’s overreach. The pieces just don’t come together as they should...’Frankenstein’ is a masterpiece. Too bad this play is not.” Full Review


“Though Wolf's idea of juxtaposing details of Shelley's life with scenes from her most famous literary achievement to suggest how one influenced the other has plenty of potential, Sanders is never quite able to make this concept transcend...The performances don't always help...Thankfully, the play is dominated by Fairchild... 'Shelley's' reach may exceed its grasp, but enough of its disparate parts connect to make it a reasonably stimulating and occasionally insightful experience.” Full Review

The New York Times

“Frankenstein’s monster is enchanting, endearing, irresistibly alive...A monster to love. He is also trapped inside an ambitious but awkward production whose elements battle one another more often than not...The play’s dialogue has a way of shattering the mood created by the music, Mr. Fairchild’s movement, and those projections...The acted scenes are so tonally off that they seem like an afterthought...For all of the show’s flashes of beauty, it remains a collection of disparate parts." Full Review


"Fairchild's movements provide captivating dramatic beauty...Though the musical elements are top shelf, 'Mary Shelley's Frankenstein' suffers on the dramatic end. There is little thread connecting the scenes and director Donald T. Sanders' staging is perfunctory at best...There are fine ideas within 'Mary Shelley's Frankenstein,' but stronger dramaturgy and deeper execution are required to bring them to life." Full Review

New York Daily News

“A theatrical monster mash-up that's easy to admire for ambition, but less so in execution...It feels as stitched together and ungainly as the wretch revivified by Victor Frankenstein...Fairchild is the show’s marquee name. His jagged movements fit the story...The acting is a mixed bag, under the direction of Sanders. The music is uniformly lovely. The overall show is less than the sum of its parts.” Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"As a dance piece, 'Mary Shelley's Frankenstein' is a masterful work...As long as the focus is on Fairchild and the music, the production comes closest to fulfilling the company's mission...Wolf has another story she wants us to heed, that of the creator of 'Frankenstein,' Mary Shelley...The production simply cannot find the right balance between these two stories...Conceptually, they've got amazing potential, but they've got their work cut out for them in striving for the right balance.” Full Review


"Fairchild conveys torments beautifully, and is truly a marvel to watch. Although his performance is fascinating, the production itself suffers from an awkwardness and confusion almost as painful as the torments of the creature himself...The story has enough juice, one would think, to power the dramatic scenes. But they fall flat, with awkward dialogue and colorless, strangely modern performances...The music, however, is lovely." Full Review


“Robert Fairchild speaks well and communicates much with his physique, but his choreography is repetitive and uninventive. Here was a chance to breathe new life into a too familiar character. All Fairchild could come up with is lurching movements and awkward falls to the floor. He takes the obvious path to create his character with movement when he had a chance to illuminate the Monster's inner emotions.” Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"Though the concept has potential, not all the pieces gel and as a whole, the piece seems disjointed, thanks to director Donald T. Sanders. The music is first rate, as is the dancing by Robert Fairchild, though the choreography is so disjointed that it is jarring to watch. Where the show falls apart, is in the actress cast as Mary Shelley, Mia Vallet, as well as the writing...Fairchild would have done better to have an independent eye creating." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

“Many elements were off and fighting with one another...I guess the main culprits would be the misguided direction coupled with a convoluted and pretentious script...The casting was perplexing...The design was random, clunky, and unfocused. And the direction dull and distracting. The only element in totality that survived unharmed in this sloppy contrived attempt to create art were the musicians...This production is as lost as that Monster flailing around in the woods.” Full Review

Theater Time

“Another disjunctive written work...So much of the storyline is staged with little sense of a coherence...Fortunately, there is incomparable dancing by Fairchild...the tentative spark that this show badly needs...You long for his dance moments and the thrilling Swann along with the musicians but have to deal with not only the pain of listening to dialogue delivered by three performers devoid of any conviction along with desultory writing and equally meandering direction.” Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Masterful, Edgy

See it if You are a fan of Great story telling and acting. Bonus Paul Wesley from Vampire Diaries.

Don't see it if you want light entertainment. This show is intense and very thought provoking.

Great staging, Visual experience

See it if You like dance, classical music and literary history. Robert Fairchild is awesome in this multimedia performance art.

Don't see it if You only like conventional theater.

Clever, Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent, Original

See it if you want to see something unusual; you love Robert Fairchild; you enjoyed ERC's Van Gogh's Ear.

Don't see it if you don't care for classical music and ballet with your drama.

Beautiful, Great staging, Great singing, Great dancing, Ambitious

See it if you like ballet or opera or just an ambitious new staging of a classic story. If you are into experimental theatre and have an open mind.

Don't see it if you like things plain and simple or if you're a Frankenstein purist. If you are not a music and interpret dance fan.

Also Opera? Ballet? Of course, a bit of each as well as of theatre and you ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Indulgent, Great writing, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if you like classical theater and opera in a small scale production.

Don't see it if You don't like shows that experiment with blending dance, opera, and classical theatre.

Ambitious, Thought-provoking

See it if Mixed perform. arts incl. opera, period music, dance and acting.Robert Fairchild post-ballet. Great young musicians. staging is excellent.

Don't see it if Looking for conventional Frankenstein...this is about relationships and loss, and the metaphoric monster.

Balletic, Muddled and unfocused in places, Overly-ambitious, Stellar musicians, Poetic

See it if a fan of exquisite dancer, actor, and choreographer Robert Fairchild; willing to forgive an imperfect production and looking for creativity.

Don't see it if expecting a play faithful to Mary Shelley's 1818 classic Gothic novel; have little patience for uneven acting; dislike music/dance in drama.

Also Like the Creature of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this play sutures to... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Edgy

See it if You are more interested Mary Shelley's life than in the monster she created in her writing. Tragedy both in her & in the monster's lives

Don't see it if You are purely interested in the Frankenstein & the monster story.

Also The pianist and other musicians were excellent and the music beautiful... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Dizzying

See it if You like original music and a interpretation on this famous story. Actors gave it their all.

Don't see it if If you like cute plays and have no interest in the Frankenstein story.

Ambitious, Great musicians, Interesting concept, Great dancing, Riveting

See it if you like Robbie Fairchild. The concept is great. The music, dancing, & projections were incredible. The acting, writing & direction were not

Don't see it if the incredible music and dancing aren't enough to outweigh bad acting, writing and direction for you.

Intelligent, Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow, Artsy-fartsy

See it if you’ve ever wanted to consume classic literature, a play, the ballet, the symphony, and the the same time.

Don't see it if “high art” or slow pacing is not your thing.

Ambitious, Confusing, Quirky, Slow, Special dance/movement

See it if You are a fan of Robert Fairchild who has created and dances the Frankenstein role. Live organ, piano and harpsichord plus a mezzo-soprano!

Don't see it if Looking for a “finished” work. This is better viewed as a workshop than a “polished” work. Script and continuity issues galore. Not for kids

Great singing, Great staging, Slow, Confusing

See it if The singing is Opera. The music is good too,. The monster was excellent, dancing with emotion. Tells the story about Mary Shelly writing.

Don't see it if If you cannot handle a Opera four songs. It's slow and you have to listen for some of the performers you could not hear in the back row.

Overreaching, Unfocused, Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if Fairchild's dancing is the best part of the show. The idea of mixing Shelley's biography​ and her best seller is well-intentioned.

Don't see it if The patchwork of too many different media left this piece resembling its main character. More dance, image & music than play.

Also This was disappointing. Too much time spend in dance and the bafflingl... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Banal, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if Want to see a good dancer but in a wasted role.

Don't see it if Want a better narrative.

Confusing, Disappointing, Ambitious, Slow

See it if If you are a fan of dance or opera you might enjoy it. It's a unique concept and utilizes a blend of several artistic mediums.

Don't see it if You are looking for a traditional theater. It's a bit all over the place. The solo piano & opera didn't further the story.

Also The concept has potential but in it's current state is comes off like ... Read more Read less

Monstrous adaptation, Frightful direction, Visually pleasing, Tragic production, Confusing

See it if you want to see Robert Fairchild in an intimate setting. Beyond that. it's more mismatched parts than Frankenstein's monster.

Don't see it if you like the original tale. It's incomprehensible ie light bulbs in 1816/Fairchild as horrifyingly ugly hint make his reflection monstorous

Disappointing, Excruciating, Slow, Boring

See it if You are a fan of Robert Fairchild.Otherwise, it is a waste of time and money!

Don't see it if Just don’t!!!!

Ambitious, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you're looking for something a bit obtuse and "artsy."

Don't see it if you're looking for an obvious plot and are not fairly familiar with the details of Frankenstein.

Also I feel like the description of this show and the vision it tries to ca... Read more Read less

Slow, Excruciating, Disappointing, Bad acting, Bad singing

See it if You are curious about the life of Mary Shelley. Classical music (except vocalist) accents the action. Nice concept.

Don't see it if If you are expecting great acting which sinks this production as well as the Van Gogh

Absurd, Clunky, Glossy, Ill-conceived, Insane

See it if you'll suffer through anything to hear exquisite piano playing of Bach, Busoni, and Liszt.

Don't see it if you've read the book or seen any of the movie adaptations including "Young Frankenstein," and "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein."

Confusing, Disappointing, Insipid

See it if You like to see different takes on a classic story. The music and dance are interesting; the acting and writing terrible

Don't see it if You have seen any other production of Frankenstein or even if you haven't. Robert Fairchild who is great, is wasted here.

Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if Your house is on fire.

Don't see it if Just don't.

Disappointing, Confusing, Excruciating, Slow

See it if You want to be tortured. Acting was awful, plot non existent. The music was poor and the dance moves were just awful and amaturish.

Don't see it if You expect to see Boris Karloffs movie or the previous real Frankenstein show or movies. It was just horrible.

Entertaining, Cliched, Confusing, Great singing, Disappointing

See it if you enjoy beautifully rendered 19 C music, pastiche theater interests you, and contemporary acting style grates with elegant texts.

Don't see it if You enjoy skilled choreography, a coherent story-line, good acting.

Cast & Creatives (11)