Fringe Review: “Frankenstein: Two Centuries” Explores Sound and Fury – and it’s Fun to Watch and Hear!

Frankenstein: Two Centuries. Photo by Timothy Uren
Frankenstein: Two Centuries. Photo by Timothy Uren

Frankenstein: Two Centuries. Image by Timothy Uren

The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society transports us to two different riffs on Mary Shelley’s groundbreaking horror sci-fi classic. The human speaking voice and sound effects done right on stage feed the imagination without the stage movement and blocking one sees in a straight play or musical. The experience is a wonderfully aural one, providing a wonderful opportunity to watch the mechanics and relish the artfulness of radio-style performances. Such performances were listened to by a mass audience once upon a time.

The five performers are first-rate. Shanan Custer captures delicate 19th century femininity in the first section which reflects the Shelley version. In the second section, set circa. World War II, she sounds uncannily like female voices trained and developed for radio and the movie studio system of that time period.
Eric Webster is humorously monstrous as Frankenstein. Tim Uren is joyously over the top as a mad Nazi scientist type. Vocally versatile Joshua English Scrimshaw is expert with pauses and emphasis and those qualities add especially nicely to the tension. Scrimshaw has a brilliant knack for the radio drama style.
Joe Weismann, a talented instrumentalist, also has a distinctive voice that adds richly to a fun production that ultimately makes us laugh at what might terrify us in another context.
Frankenstein: Two Centuries 
Through Aug. 11
Rarig Center, U of M, Minneapolis

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