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  Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Reviews
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Lookingglass Theatre

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Highly Recommended

"...The impact of Catlin’s decision to tell both the famous yarn about the young scientist who accidentally creates a monstrous creature and the origin story at its core is that the resulting entertainment is highly immersive. And, if you think about it, who wants to go and see a “Frankenstein” that does not tug at body and soul?"
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Chris Jones



Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...There is a substantial distance between the sensitive monster of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel and the lumbering beast pictured in the movies—a gulf between the salacious escapades of the Romantic writers, living as if they had more than the average span of life to spend, and the mortal debts collected from them. Frankenstein attempts to straddle these contradictions in a bombastic telling that is mostly faithful to the frame and occasionally manages to penetrate beyond it. "
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Irene Hsiao



Windy City Times- Highly Recommended

"...In summarizing the source material, Catlin strikes the most equitable balance seen this year between the florid language and the sprawling locales characteristic of the period. Daniel Osting's scenic design utilizes every corner of the Water Works' vault-like performance space, with objects dropped from the ceiling and floor-traps facilitating swift exits ( not to mention one spectacular Carrie-moment entrance ). Luckily, Lookingglass actors undergo extensive athletic training, enabling them to sprint effortlessly up ladders to perch on aerial hoops and declaim with operatic eloquence while circumscribing the stage, laden with furniture or blood-spattered drapery."
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Mary Shen Barnidge



Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...Most people mistakenly assume that the Creature’s name is Frankenstein, not his perpetrator. Maybe that’s not so wrong: After seeing this lacerating opus at the Water Tower’s pumping station, their confusion feels right: The Creature is Frankenstein — and us."
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Lawrence Bommer



Let's Play at ChicagoNow- Highly Recommended

"...In the end, Mary's was the most hauntingly story and grew into the classic novel people around this world still loved today; Frankenstein. The life of Mary Shelley, which dealt with the loss of five children, the death of her mother, father and husband should remind us how we can still rise above tragedy and find stories of love within our loneliness. Director Catlin, says it best, "I'm fascinated by how the human heart survives desolation and misery," however it's this remarkable human trait that has brought us one of the world's greatest gift; the mind of imagination."
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Rick and Brenda McCain



Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...Most of us grew up on Boris Karloff in “Frankenstein”, a tale of a Doctor who desires to recreate man from the dead. What Lookingglass Theatre is now presenting is a whole new look at “the monster” as told by Mary Shelley. This is a version that many will be surprised by. David Caitlin has adapted this book to fit the Lookingglass mode of creating stories that are physical as well as mental. Caitlin also directs this powerful story. Lookingglass patrons know that every time you enter the “black box” venue, you will see a different configuration. This one is in the round, so to speak, with audience members sitting on all four sides and the action taking place on a platform of sorts in the center of the room."
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Alan Bresloff



WTTW- Highly Recommended

"...Lookingglass Theatre’s new production, written and directed by veteran ensemble member David Catlin, has arrived a bit late in the game. But with its raw beauty, feverish emotion and a use of the intense physicality that has long been the company’s trademark, it turns out to be well worth the wait."
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Hedy Weiss



Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...There’s so much to recommend this spectacular, yet passionately heartfelt, production. It begins with a powerful script by David Catlin, a talented playwright, whose past work speaks for itself. And then it’s brilliantly directed by Mr. Catlin, a gifted artist who knows how best to bring his own words to life, from page to stage. It’s a production that works because of the unified support offered by a multitalented staff of unseen heroes. Enacted by a committed, creative cast, led by the superb Cordelia Dewdney, Mary Shelley’s story radiates with love, sorrow, thrills and chills, reminding us that life’s real monsters are not created in a laboratory, but reside within each of us."
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Colin Douglas



Chicagoland Theater Reviews- Highly Recommended

"...Keith Gallagher’s monster is particularly memorable, perhaps because Gallagher takes the most memorable character in the story. It’s a particularly impressive feat in tandem with his larger than life Lord Byron. Dialogue occasionally does slow down the play, indicating the play might be shortened a few minutes, especially down the stretch. But overall “Frankenstein….” qualifies as a distinguished addition to the honorable Lookingglass tradition."
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Dan Zeff



Chicago Theater and Arts- Recommended

"...In the beginning, the characters are obviously enjoying play-acting and over dramatizing their parts. However, as the story progresses, Percy (Walter Briggs) merges more and more into his character as Victor Frankenstein and Lord Byron (Keith Gallagher) melds into the monster Frankenstein created."
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Jodie Jacobs



Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...After three highly stylized explorations of this material at other Chicago theatres, each with its own successes, Lookingglass now presents a magnificent version that puts the emphasis back on the story itself, and that seems fitting. Shelley’s masterpiece, amazingly created at this villa when she was just a girl, is a haunted, haunting piece of work from a mind that was already very familiar with loss. It has well deserved this elongated Chicago tribute capped by this production that astounds at every turn."
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Karen Topham



PicksInSix- Highly Recommended

"...This is a whopping good story, expertly paced with moments of soaring joy and humor, heartbreaking sadness and gripping suspense that will weld you to your seat. The darkest moments reveal our capacity to endure hardship, cradle love and confront our fears, however, you will be so consumed with following Catlin’s exciting and compelling narrative and action that you may be processing all the rest for days to come."
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Ed Tracy



Picture This Post- Highly Recommended

"...MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN is intersticed with Lookingglass’s unique theatrical effects—the moon queen, Luna, descending from the ceiling on a trapeze hoop; monsters and ghosts appearing on the catwalks and trap doors conveniently allowing access to props, bodies and the monsters. Byron and Polidori as Frankenstein and his traveling buddy, Henry, engage is playful fights, dances and romps, all tightly and artfully choreographed for the small stage."
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Ann Boland