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Frankenstein stage adaptation impresses critics

24th February 2011

A new stage adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle has received praise from critics following its opening night at the National Theatre in London.

Shelley's gothic masterpiece has been adapted for the stage by Nick Dear, with Boyle on directing duties following his big screen success with Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours.

In an unconventional move, the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the monster are shared by Atonement actor Benedict Cumberbatch and Trainspotting's Jonny Lee Miller, who switch characters each night.

After the play's first performance on Tuesday night (February 22nd), critics praised Boyle and Dear for keeping the action on a 'human scale' and resisting the urge to exaggerate the monster's physical attributes.

Libby Purves, reviewing the production for The Times, described it as a 'taut, thrilling play etched with pathos and moral seriousness', while the Daily Telegraph's Charles Spencer said the play manages to refresh the Frankenstein story thanks to 'shocks, spectacular coups de theatre and scenes that tug at the heart'.

Dear recently said the hardest part of bringing the adaptation to the stage, which has taken over 20 years, was 'trying to find the real heart of Mary Shelley's story and abandon the rest'.

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