Frankenstein – ballet, UK, 2016

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Frankenstein is a 2016 British ballet directed by The Royal Ballet’s Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett at London’s Royal Opera House. The ballet is a music and dance adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Gothic tale of morality and love.

American composer Lowell Liebermann, composes a new score for the production. John Macfarlane created the stage designs, while David Finn provided the lighting design. The ballet is being simultaneously screened in a number of select cinemas. The main stars are Laura Morera, Federico Bonelli and Steven McRae.

Victor Frankenstein is sent away to university, away from his family and his closest friend Elizabeth. Just before he leaves, his mother dies in childbirth. Distraught, Victor throws himself into his studies, learning obsessively all that he can from his Professor. Fuelled by his experiments and in a desperate hope to find a way to bring his mother back, Victor works furiously, and eventually succeeds in giving life to non-living matter – but, horrified at what he has done, Victor abandons his Creation.

Six years later, Victor returns home. The Creature follows him and, watching Victor with his family from afar, longs to be accepted and loved as one of them. On the day of Victor’s wedding to Elizabeth, the Creature draws closer, enraptured by Elizabeth’s beauty. Victor discovers the Creature, who, in his panic, kills Elizabeth. In his grief, Victor takes his own life, leaving the Creature once again alone and abandoned, cradling his creator…

Reviews:

“The dancing is superb, the sets magnificent, but Liam Scarlett’s new full-length ballet squanders Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece … That the Royal Ballet has allowed Scarlett to get in so far over his head is reprehensible. He is unquestionably a great talent, but he is equally clearly not ready for a commission on this scale.” Luke Jennings, The Guardian

“With great virtuosity and choreographic diligence, Scarlett crafted carefully each one character of the story, especially the three main one’s taken on by principal dancers. Frankenstein’s ideas of the new scientific world and galvanism, his visions, memory recollections and dreams are animated vigorously by Federico Bonelli; his feelings, however beheld in his expressionless countenance, are exposed through his vivid body language.” Gabriella Daris, Blouinartfino

“Lowell Liebermann’s score is equally murky as the theme might suggest but he does lock in rhythms, action and emotion clearly enjoyed by the dancers. And what dancers! Laura Morera played Elizabeth, the hero’s love interest, and I have never seen her dance better. She brilliantly captured the character’s middle class niceness and the wonder of a young woman’s unqualified first love.” Jeffrey Taylor, Express.co.uk

“Liam Scarlett is a talented abstract, neoclassical choreographer, but his Frankenstein is the least enjoyable full-evening work I have ever seen the Royal Ballet perform … The result is a piece that reeks of desperation – that, and what seems very much like the unchecked hubris of its creator. Nor do the sad parallels with the story itself end there – for this expensive-looking new work feels largely (de)composed of body-parts from other, infinitely superior British ballets.” Mark Monahan, The Telegraph

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