When Victor Frankenstein’s mother dies, he becomes obsessed with the idea of bringing her back to life. Grief-driven experiments lead him to animate living matter, but he is repulsed by the Creature he brings into the world and flees.
Six years later, Victor returns to his family and Elizabeth, the woman he loves. The Creature follows and watches Victor with Elizabeth, longing to be accepted by them. On their wedding day, the Creature steps out of the shadows and tragedy inevitably befalls all three characters.
As his first full-length work for the Royal Opera House main stage, Scarlett’s Frankenstein was pitched as a dramatic ballet with a psychological edge. Unfortunately, the reality was that it divided critics and ultimately yielded a lukewarm response.
While many reviews praised Scarlett’s dance-making and cinematic vision, his storytelling skills and character development came under fire. Critics directly questioned why The Royal Ballet had solely entrusted the relatively inexperienced Scarlett with a commission for a three-act narrative ballet and pointed out that revisions were advisable.
Writing for The Guardian, Judith Mackrell observed: 'There’s a very powerful work at the heart of this ballet, yet Scarlett needs to cut and cut again to set it free. And given the amount of money that was spent on the production, the Royal should insist that he does.'
Two years later presumably some cutting has taken place and Scarlett’s creation has been substantially reworked.
This time around we are hoping for a deeper insight into what motivates The Creature – he really ought to be less of a marginal figure lurking on the periphery and more central to the action.
Elizabeth, too, needs fleshing out so that her character is more than just a woman devoted to Victor.
With a sweeping, orchestral score by Lowell Liebermann, detailed and chilling designs by John McFarlane and some revitalising improvements, Frankenstein might have life left in it yet.
Age Guidance: 12+
|What||The Royal Ballet, Frankenstein|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
05 Mar 19 – 23 Mar 19, 19:30 Sat 23 March mat 13:30 Dur.: 2 hours 55 mins including 2 intervals
|Website||Click to book via the ROH|