I have not seen many plays where the antagonist was the standout performance, but The Creature certainly stole the show in ‘Frankenstein 1930’.
Centre Stage Company’s latest offering at Haverhill Arts Centre is a performance of Fred Carmichael’s play based on Mary Shelley’s classic novel telling the story of the reanimated monster created by the obsessed doctor, Victor Frankenstein.
The play, directed by David Hart, opens with a mother (Jane Baillie) mourning the passing of her son, sobbing out his praises while the two grave diggers (Paul Gardiner and Connor Penn) recall the man’s true, darker nature.
Joe Craig returns to the fore as the title character, and as he walks onto the stage carries the controlling aura required for such a role.
His quirky assistant Gorgo soon provides some laughs and bemusement, and James Malone does well in the role of an odd character unable to compose himself normally.
There was a nice contrast when the show’s women were introduced, with Aunt Frederica (Sue Almond) telling servant Berta (Emma Letcher) not to call out so loud when she summons Elizabeth (Billie Allen).
The inevitible love triangle arises when Henry Lovitz (Tom Ogden) returns, fuelled by Frankenstein ignoring his fiancée Elizabeth to instead focus on his work and become increasingly agitated at the interest of others.
Dr Hellstrom (Ian Davison) appeared to have a minor role at first, but soon grew into one of the central characters.
Act One culminated with The Creature bring brought to life.
Steve Powter excelled in the role, dragging himself around as if inhuman, taking a childish interest in toys and causing some genuine fright as he froze for periods before coming back to life.
As The Creature became more sinister after the interval Powter continued to convince, particularly as he lifted Malone off the ground as Gorgo meets his demise.
The characters seemed to become more agitated as The Monster’s victims piled up, with village gossip Jalna (Lorraine Mason) raising awareness of the abomination along with Horst (Andy Letcher) and Korda (Gardiner).
Also starring were Daisy Robinson-Baillie/Bethany Mason (as the daughter) and Robinson-Baillie/Mason/Erin Brittain (as Maria).
It all escalated to a fitting conclusion, with the characters rushing around as Frankenstein sought redemption, with a fitting end to a tale of horror.
The play maintained interest throughout, and it was refreshing to see a play rather than a musical nor panto.It was a shame there was such a low turnout for the first showing yesterday (Thursday, March 20), and I hope more attend throughout the week as it is worth a watch.
Performances continue tonight (Friday, March 21, 7.30pm) and tomorrow (Saturday, March 22, 2pm matinee and 7.30pm).
For tickets calls the arts centre box office on 01440 712858.