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Published On: Tue, Oct 28th, 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch is brilliant as monster in Danny Boyle’s ‘Frankenstein’

National Theater Live’s Frankenstein, directed by Danny Boyle featured the amazing talents of Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch alongside Elementary’s Jonny Lee Miller. Mary Shelley’s classic tale was broadcast in theaters all over the global via Fathom Events and other outlets.

Frankenstein banner Benedict Cumberbatch Jonny Lee MillerBoyle directed the play written by Nick Dear, jumping headlong into the story with Cumberbatch’s Monster coming to life in the opening sequence like an alien bursting from a pod, culvulsing and contorting as it learned how to use his faculties. The journey puts the Creature with a blind mentor (Karl Coleman) and the mature brain in the newly resurrected body quickly assimilates information, ironically making him more intelligent than other humans.

Once reunited with his maker (Miller), Frakenstein, the Creature asserts his desire to have a female companion brought to life as an attempt for redemption and normalcy after being rejected by other citizens, including the family of his blind mentor.

Dear’s adaptation gets dark and twisted around his own efforts to explore creation beyond the concept of God. A powerful speech by Naomie Harris (Elizabeth) summarizes the pride of Frankenstein, the role of God in creation, but the story continues. The violence here goes beyond just murder and muddles through the arguments for justice.

Cumberbatch steals the show, stumbling and mumbling before musing lines from Paradise Lost or pleading for a companion. Miller is adequate as the crazed doctor, as is the remaining cast, but is overshadowed in the story by a true villain – the Creature.

The humor interjected is only partly successful and the efforts to promote the science of creation while excluding a Creator make us wonder how and why the rejuvenated Monster eats, can have sex or why he has emotions. Boyle was seeking to contrast the grunting, mindless stunble of the Boris Karloff Creature, but the lack of science requires the audience to have a greater faith than is require to believe in a God.

The stage and music were awesome, but nothing mindblowing. A topless “Bride” for the Monster and the violent demise of Elizabeth (not wanting to spoil this) seemed unnecessary and distracting. The metaphor didn’t hit the mark for me as the creators were trying too hard.

Overall Frankenstein receives 3 out of 5 stars.

An encore screening is set for October 29, 2014 with Miller and Cumberbatch presumably switching roles. It’s a little hard to envision Miller pulling off the Creature and Cumberbatch being wasted in the Frankenstein role, but it’s still entertaining. (see the promo photo below)

More on Frankenstein at the National Theater Live site HERE

For Fathom Events tickets and information – click HERE

"The Creature" starring Jonny Lee Miller, Benedict Cumberbatch is coming to theaters through Fathom Events photo/Catherine Ashmore via Fathom

“The Creature” starring Jonny Lee Miller, Benedict Cumberbatch is coming to theaters through Fathom Events photo/Catherine Ashmore via Fathom

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Lilacs says:

    I have seen both versions twice and Jonny Lee Miller is brilliant in both roles. In fact, I decided Cumberbatch to be a far inferior actor.

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