First let me pay tribute to the writing and directing. Nick Dear's adaptation of the Mary Shelley classic was unquestionably approached with great sensitivity and appreciation for the original work. The script skilfully conveys the themes of the novel, yet manages to make it both intriguing and relevant to people watching (as we were) via a relatively new medium two hundred years on from when it was written. Danny Boyle's assured direction had the confidence to give the story and its characters room to develop against a powerfully minimal set.
From the opening moments we are on the side of the monster - I was at all times deeply moved by Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal. We see the poor creature's initial struggle for life and its cruel abandonment by the brilliant doctor who has created it. In fact the only people who do not despise and reject the monster for its ugliness are a blind man who teaches it to read, think and converse philosophically, and Elizabeth, Victor Frankenstein's betrothed, who is filled with compassion for the poor creature.
I enjoyed this show immensely, although I have to admit that it was probably the only show I've seen in the NT Live programme where I regretted not having been a member of the original theatre audience. But don't misunderstand me, I was still glad to be there, and nothing was wrong with the performance at all - the fact the N T audience were standing at the curtain call proves it. However, the show had a certain kind of theatricality that can only be fully appreciated when you are physically present and able to take in and absorb the whole. For the first twenty minutes there is virtually no dialogue as the monster is born and literally finds its feet. It is a distressing process to observe - as Frankenstein's creation meets pain and rejection time and time again. There were moments when the poor creature's suffering was almost unbearable to witness. There is no doubt in my mind that the story and the profound philosophical questions it raises, is as relevant today as when Mary Shelley wrote it.
During the unfolding of this play I was aware of only one monster - the devastatingly destructive force that is man's ego.