To celebrate 200 years of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Edinburgh Horror Festival returns with a Halloween pantomime sell-out, Frankomime’s Monster, streamed online straight from Edinburgh. A fringe show that was a smash-hit at Edinburgh Horror Festival in 2018, Frankomime’s Monster follows the eponymous professor who, after creating life last week, now has to deal with a son who is a huge lumbering, simply-minded creature that won’t come out of his room. Perhaps one way of cheering up his son is for the Professor to create him a bride. This is a pantomime filled with laugh-out-loud jokes, energetic musical hits and teenage troubles.
Seventy minutes in length with a five-minute break to wish a big happy birthday to a member of the audience, the pantomime’s cast is made up of only three members: Tegan Gourlay, Misha McCullagh and Alexander Wiss, all of which bring buckets full of energy, passion and liveliness to the performance. Misha McCullagh, in particular, does an excellent job of quickly changing costumes off-stage for the many characters she inhabits. While the strong Scottish accents, coupled with the stream, make the pantomime often quite difficult to understand and hear, the actors plenty make up for it with humour, song and dance.
What really makes this pantomime entertaining to watch is that it takes songs we are familiar with such as Frozen’s iconic ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman?’ and butchers them, but in an extremely fun way. Replacing the traditional lyrics of the songs with the narrative of the show, it’s a twistingly unique and original portrayal of the plot, even if some of the narrative gets lost in the madness of the monster’s twerking and the Katy Perry singalong. The story of the pantomime is also depicted largely through the expressive physical movements of the actors. Entering and exiting the very small stage is accompanied by fun arm wiggles while the monster is often found dragging himself across the floor which, honestly, is a 2020 mood.
When we are not dancing along with the cast, the plot also follows the villain of the show called Professor Malpractice who is out to get Professor Frankomime for the ill-treatment of animals. A villain who is an advocate for animal rights, a monster who is embarrassed of his creator and seeking nothing but a wife for his happy ending (which, in a very comedic finale, he finally receives), and a crazy-dancing scientist, Frankomime’s Monster is like nothing I’ve watched before.
While pantomimes are typically found around the festive period, it’s fitting that the show premiered for Edinburgh Horror Festival, a week before Halloween; not only is Frankenstein gothic in form, the slapstick comedy, musical hits and the back-and-forth with the audience provide an uplifting atmosphere for the unconventional Halloween we are experiencing this year.
Overall, Frankomime’s Monster is successful in providing the much-needed entertainment we are all seeking at the moment, filled with laughter, fun and craziness from beginning to end. I thoroughly recommend to anyone who has a great sense of humour and a distinct hatred for ABBA.
Words by Lucy Lillystone.
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