The Playgoer: Frankenstein Monstrosity?

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Frankenstein Monstrosity?

Who couldn't see this dud coming...

With nary a shriek, of either humor or horror, in its drably earnest two hours of throaty sturm und drang, [Frankenstein the musical] will probably not get much of an updraft from Mr. Brooks’s coattails either.

It is only fair to note that unmingled wretchedness is, like beauty, in the eye and ear of the beholder. For those who sorely miss the halcyon days when Frank Wildhorn ruled Broadway — or at least arrived there with mystifying regularity — “Frankenstein,” with music by Mark Baron and book and lyrics by Jeffrey Jackson, will perhaps come as a big, bellowing hunk of musical manna.

Exactly. This thing had Wildhorn written all over it. Talk about Bad Ideas for Musicals. It's even playing at the cursed 37 Arts complex.

Yet the Times still devoted a hefty feature to it earlier this week. I'm glad Isherwood sideswipes the piece in his review:

The musical’s creators (the director is Bill Fennelly) have pointedly said that their goal was to return the story to its uncorrupted roots in the Shelley novel....Such loyalty does not quite qualify as virtuous, however, because the histrionic tone is wearying to the point of silliness, and the excess of first-person narration means little is dramatized. Mostly the characters just shuffle around a gloomily dark stage, each in firm possession of his or her own shaft of smoky light, and recount in musical soliloquy their perspectives on this woeful tale of human overreaching.

To amend a previous post, just because someone is spending a lot of money Off-Broadway doesn't make it art either.

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