Frankenstein: A New Ballet

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By Catherine Redford

Image: © British Library

When I first heard that the Royal Opera House was planning to stage Frankenstein as a ballet I was hugely excited and intrigued, but also a little wary: how would this classic Romantic work – and seminal Gothic masterpiece – translate to dance? Of course, Frankenstein has been adapted for stage and screen numerous times; in the decades following the novel’s publication, it was the inspiration for Richard Brinsley Peake’s Presumption; or, The Fate of Frankenstein(1823) and H. M. Milner’s The Man and the Monster! Or, the Fate of Frankenstein (1852). More recently, the text has inspired several films, including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994), I, Frankenstein (2014), and Victor Frankenstein (2015). In 2011, the Royal National Theatre staged an adaptation written by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle in which the two lead actors swapped the roles of Frankenstein and the Creature on alternating nights.

As far as I know, though, there’s never been a dance version of Frankenstein, so I was really interested to see how this new adaptation by Liam Scarlett, the Royal Ballet’s Artist in Residence, would work. I have to admit, I was a bit cynical about how a text …read more