Current Issue #488

Fringe Review:
Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster

The BAC Beatbox Academy’s take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is an electrifying live show that is truly a must-see of the 2020 Fringe.

The South West London-based collective use Shelley’s original novel as a basic leaping-off point to dynamically tackle the themes and ideas that have made the story so endlessly popular for so many years, and introducing key contemporary issues works surprisingly well.

With the six-strong performers hitting The Attic stage alongside leader Conrad, this began with some explanation about what the Academy is all about and funny audience participation tricks. A few Adelaide newbies joined them for vocal demonstrations, and then the Frankenstein-ian tale commenced, with moody lighting, a striking aural soundscape, a haunting early song that might have been fittingly called Genius, and an ethical discussion that memorably included the question, “When does experimental become mental?”

The shell of the story is there, but this utilised it in new and powerful ways as, for example, one member briefly became the slightly up-himself titular character while the others all slumped forward to portray the corpses soon to be cobbled together into the Monster. This allowed for sudden bursts of Ray Charles, James Brown and Pachelbel’s Canon, and even, you guessed it, a quick dick joke.

More modern touches, like a cutting tune about social media and a beatbox battle between Frankenstein and the Monster (represented by several members huddling together and grimacing) never seemed out of place, and a later number where the Monster ponders his hideousness, and this suddenly turns into a shocking showstopper about the horrors of beauty myth, was a serious highlight. And watch out because members of the audience are spotlighted and insulted here – including me.

Concluding with a proper beatbox challenge and some final words about the Academy, this was, all in all, a monstrously exciting experience.

Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster was performed at The Attic at RCC

Until 15 March

Frankenstein: How To Make A Monster

DM Bradley

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