Frankenstein: Monster Mash

Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein has been given a modern and intriguing make-over by Mixed Magic Theatre. The show opened May 15 and runs through May 31.

The story begins in the Arctic when the crew of an exploration vessel discovers Victor Frankenstein. He shares his tragic life story with Captain Walton. When he was a boy, Victor’s beloved mother died from an illness, a development that motivated him to study medicine and later, acquire some corpses, which he brings back to life.

Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, who adapted the story, made the unique choice to have Frankenstein’s monster split into thirds – the Alpha (Brayam Renovales), Beta (David Valentine), and Gamma (Charles Santos). The three actors all walk with stilts attached to their feet to convey the monster’s towering presence.

Victor is continually haunted by the madness he has unleashed upon the world. At the same time, his creature yearns for love, understanding, and knowledge – which Victor is unable or unwilling to provide. Rudy Cabrera effectively conveys Victor’s inner anguish as he realizes he has created something beyond his control. Captain Walton questions Victor about his ethics and wonders if there is a limit to his madness.

Toward the end of the show, slides of monsters both imagined – Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman — and real – Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, Adolph Hitler – are projected on a wall. We are reminded by cast member Jeannie Mae Carson about the monsters society has created and the price we have paid for creating them.

MJ Daly and Carson co-directed the show, which is fast-paced and often chilling. The cast also features Meg Taylor-Roth as Elizabeth – Victor’s fiancee, Mike Riley as Henry Clerval – Victor’s friend, and Kim Xavier as the doomed Justine.

Fans of Mary Shelley’s novel may not be pleased with the creative liberties Mixed Magic has taken with the story, but the admirers of more experimental theater will find plenty to appreciate in this re-telling.

Frankenstein runs through May 31 at Mixed Magic Theatre. For more information, visit mmtri.com or call 401.305.7333

560 Mineral Spring Avenue, Pawtucket.

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