Review: Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein @ Underbelly, Bristo Square

An eclectic collection of instruments, a line of projectors and a cast dressed in nineteenth-century attire awaits on stage beneath a projector screen looming over the audience, shrouded in fog. The moment you enter McEwan Hall for Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein, the gothic horror (with a dash of steampunk) atmosphere is set. 

The show is an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel, Frankenstein. It ties together the story of Frankenstein with Mary Shelley’s own and how she came to write the legendary tale. The show plays out like a silent movie being created in real-time. Despite the lack of speech, the beautiful arrangement of live music, special effects and magnetic actors lends a strong voice to the stage.  

From start to finish, the show is a marvel to behold. Manual Cinema have created it is potent with creativity; a beautiful and stylistic world of its own. The show is almost divided into two. One section being the projector screen alone where one can watch the production unfold. The other being the stage itself where you can marvel as the almost superhuman cast race to piece it together with puppetry, live music and a range of clever cinema techniques. It was amazing in itself that the cast barely broke a sweat throughout the one hour and fifteen-minute show. The swift, breathless pace of the made that timeframe pass in moments. When it came to a close, the majority of the audience rose in a well-deserved standing ovation. 

Manual Cinema have utilised a wealth of complex techniques magnificently to craft an unforgettable experience that transports its audience to the dark realm of Mary Shelley’s tragic tale. It is truly a show that can’t be missed at this year’s Fringe.

July 31 – August 26 (not 12) 14:45 @ Underbelly, Bristo Square

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