Frankenstein Reviews

The Observer – Susannah Clapp – 27 February 2011

Danny Boyle’s production of Frankenstein depends on a gorgeously gargantuan feat of design by Mark Tildesley, and on the most magnetic pairing of actors’ roles since Olivier and Gielgud played Romeo and Mercutio in tandem 76 years ago” 

 The Independent on Sunday – Kate Bassett – 27 February 2011

Small differences proved fascinating, with Cumberbatch’s turn as the Creature revealing greater poignancy and endearing humour…But if we’re ranking Boyle’s star actors, then Cumberbatch – feeling more deeply and making subtler choices – comes out on top in both roles

The Sunday Times – Christopher Hart – 27 February 2011

“Although both leads make fine Creatures, Cumberbatch is far more convincing as Victor… Cumberbatch injects real intellectual passion and fire into the role”

 

The Guardian – Michael Billington – 24 February 2011

Cumberbatch’s Creature is unforgettable. “Tall as a pine tree,” as the text insists, he has humour as well as pathos…But there is also an epic grandeur about Cumberbatch….It is an astonishing performance…But when it comes to Frankenstein, I felt Cumberbatch had the edge in that he offered clearer hints of the scientist’s cold-hearted single-mindedness

The Times – Libby Purves – 24 February 2011

“Cumberbatch astonished in the monster role, moving into a zone of physical expressiveness and otherness we have never yet seen; and his scenes with Lee Miller’s tougher, hoarser Frankenstein worked even better than the first way round…”

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The Stage – Jeremy Austin – 24 February 2011

While Miller is engrossing to watch, Cumberbatch creates the creature from the head down…To that end, Cumberbatch delivers an authenticity that Miller’s somehow more comic creation fails to…With Victor Frankenstein too, Cumberbatch convinces as the tortured genius driven by his own ego to defy God far more than Miller. 

The Independent – Paul Taylor – 24 February 2011

Broadly speaking, Cumberbatch emphasises the intellectual edge of both roles; Lee Miller takes us further into the feeling…Cumberbatch is brilliant at conveying the blackly ridiculous aspects of the hubristic Scientist. No less virtuosic than Lee Miller in the ballet stakes, Cumberbatch is more horrifying as Frankenstein’s handiwork and more assertive in argument. 

The Hollywood Reporter – Ray Bennett – 24 February 2011

Cumberbatch has the edge in both roles due to his ability to convey by expression and voice a degree of madness that is just beyond Lee Miller. Cumberbatch nails Frankenstein’s air of innate superiority and he makes heartbreaking the Creature’s aching search for wisdom and compassion. Both performances are well worth seeing in a two-hour show that has shocks and surprises, some considerable horror and moments of great tenderness.

Picture 4The Telegraph – Charles Spencer – 24 February 2011

Miller, however, strikes me as the more disturbing and poignant monster, while Cumberbatch undoubtedly has the edge as the scientist who is ultimately revealed to lack the humanity of the unhappy creature he has created.

What’s on Stage – Michael Coveney – 24 February 2011

Lee Miller is brilliant and moving as the Creature, Cumberbatch more interesting, more systematic, more graceful and much funnier…Cumberbatch is a superb Victor, a man who would be king, struck with hubris and self-importance, vile to women, academically impassioned, tragic and ridiculous;

Evening Standard – Henry Hitchens – 24 February 2011

Having seen each essay both roles, I’d say Cumberbatch is the more convincing as the science-mad Frankenstein. Both are superb as the Creature, models of fidgety physicality. 

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The Wall Street Journal – Paul Levy – 24 February 2011

I thought Mr. Cumberbatch a febrile, slightly effete scientist, and that Mr. Miller brought out the monster side of the Creature. I preferred the second casting; though Mr. Cumberbatch’s Creature is a touch over-articulate, more the early 19th-century educated gentleman, I found each of their performances more moving.

Bloomberg – Warwick Thompson – 24 February 2011

The palm goes — by a margin — to Cumberbatch. Miller endows The Creature with pathos and heart, and he is physically exciting to watch. Cumberbatch, however, brings greater range and depth: He can be both funny and vicious. And as Frankenstein, his touch of madness is compelling in a truly maniacal way.

Time Out – Caroline McGinn – 24 February 2011

Cumberbatch is camper, funnier and nastier in the monster’s role… And Cumberbatch – as fans of the Beeb’s ‘Sherlock’ will attest – has a sadistic flair when it comes to playing a semi-autistic genius with a chip of ice at his heart. The dynamic of the duo works best with Miller providing the muscle and the pathos, Cumberbatch the flamboyant, cerebral chill.

Brandon Sun – Jill Lawless – 24 February 2011

Both actors excel. Miller has the edge in depicting the Creature’s frustration and rage, while Cumberbatch conveys a touch more of his delight at discovering the beauty of nature and the power of his own body and mind.

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The Arts Desk – Sam Marlowe – 24 February 2011

In the midst of it all are two excellent performances by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, who alternate in the roles of vauntingly ambitious scientific genius Frankenstein and his pitiable “hideous progeny”… As an actor, Cumberbatch has the edge: there’s more rich detail to both his interpretations.

New York Times – Ben Brantley – 24 February 2011

(Believing in his gruesomeness, by the way, requires a leap of faith, since in monster mode, the exceedingly buff Mr. Miller and Mr. Cumberbatch each register as a desperate housewife’s answered prayer.)

Variety – David Benedict – 24 February 2011

Benedict Cumberbatch is more hard-edged in both roles – with a lean incisiveness that pays major dividends as a more fierce Victor. He also finds unexpected comedy as the creature, appearing to surprise himself as he stumbles and cavorts about the stage.

Daily Express – Paul Callan – 24 February 2011

There is, too, a certain tenderness when he begs the increasingly mad Dr Frankenstein – a polished and balanced interpretation by Benedict Cumberbatch – to create him a bride.

Frankenstein460oThe Mail – Patrick Marmion – 24 February 2011
Cumberbatch, playing the megalomaniac scientist on the first of the two opening nights, was breathless with pride, volcanic with contempt and quivering with foreboding.

The Times – A Game of Two Halves but which is best – Libby Purves – 24 February 2011 

Cumberbatch is more graceful, girlish almost: but to see this normally suave performer hurling himself into the agile physicality and awkward strangeness of the Creature is revelatory, a quantum leap for his reputation…

The Mail – Baz Bamigboye – Preview 9th February 2011

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, who are outstanding in Danny Boyle’s production of Frankenstein, adapted for the stage by Nick Dear from Mary Shelley’s classic.