Mary Shelley's Frankenstein NYC Reviews and Tickets
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.
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.
“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."
“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.”
“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.”
"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."
"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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”