James Carpenter as The Creature. Photo by Alessandra Mello

THE CREATURE: Drama by Trevor Allen, adapted from Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." Directed by Rob Melrose, with James Carpenter, Gabriel Marin and Garth Petal. Black Box Theatre, Thick House, 1695 18th St., San Francisco. 415-401-8081. or Through November 7, 2009.


Although I cannot make comparisons to previous adaptations of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein,t be assured that Trevor Allen’s The Creature must rate with the best of them. He has brilliantly distilled and intensified the crux of the story creating a humanistic yet terrifying creature without a name in a world that has rejected him. This Black Box Theatre world premiere play began as a live audio podcast two years ago. This Halloween must-see production ends November 7 and is sure to be sellout. Order your tickets now.

Casting outstanding local actor James Carpenter as the creature is a brilliant decision. He engulfs the role with dramatic authority, using a modulated diaphragmatic voice range that alternates and resonates with fear, desire for love, intelligence, rage and finally remorse. Stephanie Buchner’s effective lighting, Cliff Caruthers’ music/sound effects, Michael Locher's stark set and Rob Melrose’s tightly drawn direction enhance his dynamic performance.

Allen begins the story aboard Captain Walton’s artic expedition where he meets and rescues Victor Frankenstein from an ice flow. Frankenstein, the “father” of The Creature, is pursuing him to avenge the death of his brother and young wife. Allen, through Frankenstein, tells the story with cross monologs and occasional confrontations between the three. Gabe Marin ardently expresses Victor Frankenstein’s scientific preoccupation with immortality and projects believable change from self admiration, to revulsion, fear, rage and eventual understanding. Garth Petal as Captain Walton, initially displays skepticism of Frankenstein’s narration sends chills through the audience with his reaction when he first encounters The Creature.

Actual running time is about 95 minutes broken into a one hour first and a 35 minute second act adding up to a less than two hour evening allowing plenty of time to attend your Halloween parties. Do not miss this show.
Kedar K. Adour, MD
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