Tag Archives: Jonny Lee Miller

National Theatre’s Frankenstein: The Role Reversal

It is not very often that you get to watch a play in which the two lead actors switch roles every night. It’s rarer still to be able to watch both performances and then compare how the actors approached the characters. Yet that’s exactly what you are able to do with The National Theatre’s 2011 play Frankenstein.

Last week, I went to an encore screening of Frankenstein, that featured Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Imitation Game, Third Star) as The Creature and Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary, Endgame, Eli Stone) as Victor Frankenstein.

Yesterday, they showed the play with reverse cast,which means that Benedict Cumberbatch became the mad scientist while Jonny Lee Miller became his creation.

It’s amazing to see two takes on the same role. While both have the set script and actions to adhere to, the way they portray their characters differs greatly.

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Thrilling and thought-provoking: Frankenstein at the National Theatre, Encore Screening

It does take skill to adapt Mary Shelley’s gothic classic Frankenstein for the stage without turning it into a caricature of the Boris Karloff films. But that is exactly what director extraordinaire Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), and screen writer Nick Dear, managed to do.

Their Frankenstein, which had its original run from February until May 2011 at the National Theatre in London, is a true theatrical masterpiece, both thrilling and thought-provoking.

So popular was the play’s original run that Encore screenings of a recorded performance have been shown worldwide every year since 2011. The two lead actors, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, War Horse, The Hobbit) and Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary, Trainspotting, Dark Shadows) alternated nightly between the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his creation.

This version starred Benedict Cumberbatch as The Creature and Jonny Lee Miller as Frankenstein, and it’s one of those rare performances that is so powerful and thought-provoking that it needs to be digested for a while before all the facets of the play’s brilliance fit together like a puzzle.

Continue reading Thrilling and thought-provoking: Frankenstein at the National Theatre, Encore Screening