Dr. Frankenstein visits The Walker Theatre

Dr. Frankenstein’s Travelling Freak Show
The Walker Theatre
2 May 2013

In a full on, high energy, Artaudian, Brechtian piece of theatre; Tin Shed Theatre Company re-told the classical tale of Shelley’s Frankenstein.

“What do you see when you stare into the eyes of a monster?” the narrative asks, and goes on to answer the question in a surreal, mystical and often hilarious romp through the darker side of Victorian entertainment.

The play was held together by the narration of the ringmaster. Framed in the world of the freak show, this play and the demands it made of its actors was an overwhelming triumph and called for theatre in its purest form.

With a minimalistic set of two wooden cases and a stripy canvas bathing tent, it called on its actors to be multi-charactered, agile and athletic. Putting them through a rigorous trial on their pure theatrical skills; this presentation and cast ticked all the right boxes.

Theatre is one of the most powerful ways to access the imagination of its recipients. It can thrill, excite, delight, and boggle even the most cynical of minds. It defies plausibility and enables us all to be deeply entrenched into a story so ludicrously unbelievable that we can find ourselves questioning after the event,  what it was what that we had just seen. That is the job of pure theatre and when it is delivered in such a powerful and hilarious way as Tin Shed achieved, it heartens us to realise theatre is never going to fade. Sometimes the medium has suffered losses to television and cinema however Tin Shed have proved that it can still maintain a magic and power unequalled by any other art form..

Tin Shed are aware of that phenomenon and step up to the plate beautifully. Not missing a theatrical trick from shadow shows, puppetry, use of costume and gesture this show is a hard hitter, a victory on collaboration and team work.

On the downside and it is only a fixable niggle, when the band were playing incidental music in the wings, audibility became a problem and it became difficult to follow the ringmaster’s crucial links. Understandably though, each theatre space is different and to hit the balance spot on in every performance will take superhuman forecasting of audience numbers divided by acoustics to reach the right equation where it will work well. I think they over-pitched the band whilst under-pitching the vocal. This was a premier performance, however, and that I am sure, will be addressed.

Tin Shed are to be commended for the understanding of theatre and its conventions. Superbly done.

This is a four star review

Owen Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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