“Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus” at Book-It

Book-It is at its best when it dramatizes classic literature, and David Quicksall’s brilliant adaptation of Mary Wollstoncraft Shelley’s 19th Century novel is among the best of the best. Part horror story, part morality tale, “Frankenstein; …” has thrilled, frightened, and stimulated the intellectual curiosity of readers since its origin almost 200 years ago. This production captures all its intense emotion and highlights its morality issues.

Quicksall, who also directed the show, and his creative team (Andrew D. Smith (lighting), Andrea Bryn Bush (scenic design), and Nathan Wade (sound) have put together a spellbinding theatrical event you won’t quickly forget.

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Connor Toms and Jim Hamerlinck
Photo by Chris Bennion

Connor Toms is splendid as the tortured Victor Frankenstein, the man who reached too far, the human who dared to create as only God should do. His intellectual curiosity overwhelms him. To understand life, he must observe death. Can he put dead body parts together; can he make a man? How dare he even imagine it, much less do it? And so the monster is created, and once created how does one control it? Toms captures all the necessary emotions, all the horror.

As he tells how he constructed this living, breathing human-like being, we see his agitation, remorse and fear build. He realizes the repugnance of what he’s done, understands that ambition can be a poison. Toms, on stage for almost the entire two-plus hours, delivers the vast majority of the dialog and weaves a spell that is overpowering.

And then there’s the creature itself (Jim Hamerlinck), a large and menacing presence doomed to a life without companionship, excluded from the comfort of human fellowship. He’s horrifying, yet he had no choice but to follow his passions. Of course he’s a danger to humans, yet in Hamerlinck’s hands you can’t help but feel sorry for him. He’s the fallen angel, alone, agonized.

Powerful play, splendid acting, great theatrical effects! This is a not-to-miss production.

Through March 9 at The Center Theatre, in the Armory in Seattle Center, (206-216-0833 or boxoffice@book-it.org)

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