Frankenstein hits the Brighton stage

Mary Shelley will wander through her own tale in a new production of Frankenstein heading to the south coast.

Eilidh Loan in Frankenstein-Tommy Ga-Ken Wan
Eilidh Loan in Frankenstein-Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Eilidh Loan plays Mary in Rona Munro’s new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Gothic masterpiece at Theatre Royal Brighton from Monday, October 14-Saturday, October 19 – a piece which puts Shelley herself onstage as the author personally unfolding her monstrous tale of creature and creator.

18-year-old Mary dreams up a monster whose tragic story will capture the imaginations of generations to come.

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A young scientist by the name of Frankenstein breathes life into a gruesome body.

Banished into an indifferent world, Frankenstein’s creature desperately seeks out his true identity, but the agony of rejection and a broken promise push him into darkness.

Dangerous and vengeful, the creature threatens to obliterate Frankenstein and everyone he loves in a ferocious and bloodthirsty hunt for his maker.

It’s proving an appropriately electrifying experience for the cast: “I have been a massive fan of Rona’s ever since I wanted to be an actor,” says Eilidh.

“She is an incredible woman, and when we sat down for the first time in the rehearsal room, there was a real electricity in the room… which was very apt! There really were sparks between the actors.

“When Rona was adapting the story, she wanted to do it in a different way, and what she has done is put Mary Shelley at the centre of the action, this young woman who created this story at a time when women weren’t supposed to be writing about that kind of thing… and we see her, needing to understand the power of her words and the power of her political statement.”

And yes, Frankenstein really is a political statement, Eilidh believes. Shelley’s argument is that you have got to take responsibility for your actions – and Frankenstein, the creator, certainly does not.

“She talks about the betrayal of the words and of the power and how a great man with great power can cause all the destruction.

“Frankenstein sets up this idea that he is the first man to create life from death. He creates this monster that just wants to be loved as a human being…but Frankenstein betrays his creation.

“The monster goes out into the world and is betrayed again by another family.

“Frankenstein knew at the beginning what he was doing. He worked for nearly three years to create this scientific experiment that works, but by the end, Frankenstein has betrayed every single character.

“The actor playing the monster creates a monster who is only so scary and intimidating because of the rejection he has suffered.”

Eilidh adds: “I am a big fan of Mary’s. She is an incredible woman. It is amazing to get to play someone with such a history and such a legacy behind her.

“I think we have all come together to create this really modern, punky, cheeky character.

“The story is sometimes really dark and gritty, but Mary does make light of parts of the play, and she is also quick to manipulate the characters.”

Eilidh’s screen credits include: London Kills (BBC, Acorn TV), Doctors (BBC), Clique (BBC) and England’s Forgotten Queen (BBC). Her stage credits include: Me & My Left Ball (Tristan Bates Theatre).