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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
Re-Imagining Breathes New Life Into Frankenstein
It is one of THE classic horror stories of all time, probably only matched by tales of Count Dracula for sheer menace and staying power. The story of Frankenstein has been scaring generations of children and adults alike since author Mary Shelley first dreamt up the hulking monster almost two centuries ago in 1818 when her novel was first published.

Frankenstein 1899
Frankenstein 1899 is a reworking of the original horror story

But a new working of the Frankenstein story, which comes to the Lichfield Garrick theatre on November 10, has chosen to portray the classic horror tale in a slightly different fashion. The production is by the aptly named Don't Go Into the Cellar theatre company, which was formed just six years ago in 2010. In this Victorian updating of the Gothic horror story, the setting is brought forward to the final year of the 19th century.

Boris Karloff in Frankenstein
Boris Karloff as the monster in the original Frankenstein. By Universal Studios - Dr. Macro, Public Domain,

And, in a further move away from Mary Shelley's book, the emphasis also switches from the original theme of science to one of spiritualism. Instead of the somewhat unhinged inventor Dr Victor Frankenstein who we are all familiar with, the central character of Don't Go Into The Cellar's adaptation is a charismatic preacher who shocks Victorian society with his claims that he can communicate with the dead. And those sceptics who do not accept his claims or beliefs may soon find themselves suffering the horrifying consequences.

Lichfield Garrick
Lichfield Garrick plays host to new Frankenstein play

Frankenstein 1899 features just two actors, including artistic director Jonathan Goodwin, who each take on multiple roles, with the prospect of a bit of audience participation. It is just one of several creations by Don't Go Into The Cellar which describes itself as the UK's finest practitioners of theatrical Victoriana in a macabre vein. The theatre company is based in the West Midlands which has links with some of the greatest Victorian and Edwardian genre writers including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame.

Lichfield Garrick
The srory will be played out in the intimate studio theatre

The story of Frankenstein was begun by Mary Shelley when she was just 18 but the first edition was published anonymously in 1818 when she was 20. Her name first appeared on the second edition, published in France five years later. But today's horror fans will be more familiar with the films of the same name, and with the role of actor Boris Karloff who starred as the monster in all three movies that came out in the 1930s - starting with the original Frankenstein in 1931, and followed by the sequel, Bride of Frankenstein in 1935 and, finally, Son of Frankenstein four year later which also featured Basil Rathbone as the title character and Bela Lugosi as the sinister assistant Ygor.

Frankenstein 1899 can be seen at the Lichfield Garrick theatre on Thursday 10 November at 7.45pm. Tickets priced 14, or 10 for students, can be booked online or by phoning the box office on 01543 412121.

Forthcoming shows

Oct 31 The Swan Inn, Dobcross, Oldham -
Nov 1 The Swan Inn, Dobcross, Oldham
Nov 4 The Guildhall, Leicester
Nov 10 Lichfield Garrick
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Why? See Frankenstein In A New Light
When: 10 November 2016
Phone: 01543 412121
Where: Lichfield Garrrick, Castle Dyke, Lichfield WS13 6HR
Cost: Tickets 14 or 10 students
Your Comment
Sounds like an interesting take on the story.
by Helen Skybak (score: 0|4) 1909 days ago
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