Looking for something to do this Halloween weekend? Go see Trevor Allen's latest production, The Creature, playing through November 7th at The Thick House in the Potrero Hill District of San Francisco. I had the chance to attend a preview last weekend and ended up sitting right behind the author. He seemed very calm, as he should have. The director Rob Melrose assembled an excellent cast of three. The Creature is a stage adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Allen originally wrote the play as a radio play and recently made the changes necessary to bring it to the live stage. His is a Frankenstein story designed not only to scare you a little, but moreover, to make you feel something for this poor misunderstood creature.
Captain Walton is played by Garth Petal who I saw earlier this year in Mud at The Cutting Ball Theatre. What was neat about his performance in The Creature, was that he was so different in this role, that I didn't realize it was the same person, until after I read the program. I love it when that happens. Victor Frankenstein is played by Gabriel Marin who brings a moving passion and boyish idealism to a very dense and difficult role. The Creature (the Frankenstein monster) is played by the hugely talented James Carpenter. With an Ian McKellen-esque face and a command of body and voice that I have rarely seen, Carpenter creates a monster that will thrill you, terrify you, and move your soul. The voice Carpenter has created for this performance is sort of a mixture of Yoda, Gollum and Darth Vader. It's far from comical, though. The voice resonates with humanity and suffering. You will be thinking of it, and hearing it in your imagination for days.
The play indeed has the feel of a radio play. Most of it is in narrative form, although it funnels into real time dialogue at key moments. Throughout most of the show you could close your eyes and pretend you were listening to a radio play, but don't, you will miss the subtle and sublime physicality that all the actors deliver. The set designed by Michael Locher is spooky and sparse. Some very nice effects are created with reverb in the sound system. It’s a excellent night of theatre.