Dr Frankenstein's Freakshow, Hendricks Library of Delightfully Peculiar Writings, Brighton, May 20 (From The Argus)
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Dr Frankenstein's Freakshow, Hendricks Library of Delightfully Peculiar Writings, Brighton, May 20
There’s something lovely about sitting in a tent drinking gin, tonic and cucumber of a Sunday, watching spectacularly silly performers give their all in the name of entertainment.
Now, I honestly don’t work for Hendrick’s, the gin-producing sponsors of this vintage-styled venue, but their annual week or so of Brighton Festival Fringe shows is always good fun; this OTT take on Mary Shelley’s masterpiece was just that.
Newport-based Tin Shed Theatre’s show featured a Victorian freakshow led by a bellowing showman of a ringmaster introducing his peculiar cast. Including a bearded lady, a part-man, part-lobster mindreader, a miniature Amazonian ape-woman/chimp, and Dr Frankenstein’s actual monster, these oddballs went on to perform their lunatic version of his story, narrated by their abusive leader.
Delightfully, exhaustingly energetic with some utterly ridiculous League of Gentlemen-style slapstick prompting many a chuckle, Tin Shed’s four performers were all spellbinding (particularly Antonio Rimola’s perma-shaking doofus doctor) in their use of physical comedy with a nicely juvenile, potty-mouthed script. A brilliant score by Cardiff jazz ensemble Inc.A set the scene well with Klezmer strings and brass as the silly shenanigans of a play within a play segued into something much darker.
As the show neared it’s “moral of the story” section and the real nastiness behind the actions of the ringmaster were revealed, there was the niggling feeling of a greater satire lurking unreleased beneath the extremely accomplished physicality. Still, this barely mattered; this irreverent production remained perfectly enjoyable without too much subtext distracting from the sublime chaos.