Mary Shelley’s classic tale of identity, social alienation, and the determined patching together of the impossible is brought to life by the Battersea Arts Centre and BAC Beatbox Academy. It kicks, it yells, it demands your attention. It is an incredible evening of talent, performed entirely using the vocals of its young cast. It is just plain electrifying.
The stage is essentially bare, leaving plenty of room for the cast to move and dance and contort around with their microphone cords and bodies in ways that demonstrate their unrelenting energy and immense control. The audience were enthusiastic, but, honestly, a little unprepared for the completely flooring dynamism that was spat, sung, and celebrated before them.
Thematically, ‘How to Make a Monster’ is genius. Just as Shelley’s original monster is constructed from the pieces of whole beings, the immersive vocal landscapes and songs are fantastically collaborative, with each cast member taking on a separate instrument (or instruments) to create a powerful, coherent orchestra. It is at times unclear whether the songs are sung by the Creature itself, by the Creator, but the amalgamation of voices and themes is seamless and perfectly compliments the concerns of the novel.
The group work together so well, which also involves giving the floor space for individual performances and spotlights. Aminita Francis is a stand-out member of the group, possessing a singing voice that immediately captivates the whole room, and it goes without saying that ABH Beatbox has probably replaced his vocal chords with a sentient, magical sound system. The opportunities for audience participation was also enjoyable, even if I really need to work on my snare noises.
A stunning, sonic show, ‘Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster’ is not to be missed.
How to Make a Monster runs until the 25th of August – buy tickets here.