Love story is at heart of misunderstood tale
ROMANCE rather than horror will play a part in Newcastle Operatic Society's latest production.
Frankenstein – A New Musical will be staged at Stoke Repertory Theatre from Tuesday, November 6.
And the show's producers are asking audience members to forget any preconceptions they may have about the Gothic classic.
Director James Freeman explains: "Forget everything that you think you know about Frankenstein.
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"Mary Shelley's classic novel has nothing to do with lumbering mute monsters or maniacal scientists.
"It is a beautiful, epic Gothic romance which is generally regarded as the first true science fiction novel."
First published in 1818, Mary Shelley's tale was written to pass the time when she was travelling.
Mary, her husband Percy, and their friends Lord Byron and John Polidori, held a competition to see who could devise the best ghost story.
Since then, Mary's novel about a scientist who creates a monster has been re-told countless times, and has been adapted for the stage and screen.
James says that it explores fears about tampering with nature, set against the backdrop of a tragic love story.
"It's a shame that early theatre and film adaptations chose to ignore this element and concentrate purely on the horror of the story," says James. "This is, unfortunately, the image many people have in their minds when you mention the word Frankenstein.
"This also leads to the common mistake that Frankenstein is the name of the creature rather than the surname of the brilliant and driven young Swiss student, Victor, who creates him."
Tom Pear takes on the title role while Geoff Legan plays The Creature in Mark Baron and Jeffrey Jackson's musical version of Shelley's masterpiece.
Meanwhile Shelley Anne River is Victor's fiancee, Elizabeth. Raif Clarke is cast as Victor's brother William and Radio Stoke's Tim Wedgwood appears as Robert Walton.
James says: "Passion and obsession combine to create one of the most powerful musicals ever written with beautiful ballads and soaring choral numbers."
Frankenstein – A New Musical is at Stoke Repertory Theatre from November 6 until November 10. Call the box office on 01782 565873.