Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's alive (screening)!

Today's the last day that Chicagoans can catch a screening of Danny Boyle's thrilling Frankenstein, which recently ended its sold out run at London's National Theatre. The play is currently on a broadcast tour of movie theaters around the world, including local treasure the Music Box.

Frankenstein, fairly closely adapted by Nick Dear from Shelley's novel, marks a return to the stage for Boyle, who began his career in English theater before attaining the "celebrated filmmaker" status he now deservedly enjoys. The show stars Boyle's Trainspotting cast member, Jonny Lee Miller, and Benedict Cumberbatch, who has the distinctions of both playing the BBC Sherlock series' titular hero, and being hilariously, Britishly named.

In a stunt that initially seems gimmicky, Miller and Cumberbatch alternate roles as both Frankenstein and his monster, delivering powerful performances that ultimately accentuate the story's themes of duality and creation. Naomie Harris (28 Days Later, Pirates of the Caribbean) and George Harris (Harry Potter) co-star.

Unsurprisingly, Boyle mounts a visually dazzling production, propelled by a driving soundtrack from UK electronic duo Underworld (who also scored Boyle's Sunshine and provided songs for Trainspotting). But appropriately, the show's chief takeaway is its moving story, as relevant now as it was nearly 200 years ago — probably more so.

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