Gorgo (Janine Guy) assists Victor Frankenstein (Elliot Figuera) in his experiments in Frankenstein 1930

Gorgo (Janine Guy) assists Victor Frankenstein (Elliot Figuera) in his experiments in Frankenstein 1930

Frankenstein’s monster revived on White Rock stage

Player's Club production exhumes horror classic for Coast Capital Playhouse run

Nobody actually utters the infamously over-the-top line “it’s alive!” in Frankenstein 1930 – White Rock Players Club’s contribution to this fall’s round of spooky Halloween-season thrillers, now playing (until Oct. 15) at Coast Capital Playhouse.

But producer and past club president Fred Partridge said that in all other respects Fred Carmichael’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic – set squarely in the middle of the early-talkie era that spawned the original Universal Pictures- Boris Karloff Frankenstein – fulfills every requisite of its delightfully creaky idiom, right down to a laboratory set that promises to deliver a few sparks and flashes along the way.

And Partridge added that, for old school suspension-of-disbelief melodramatics played straight – albeit with a somewhat unnatural gleam in the eye – Frankenstein 1930 matches the 1927 Balderston-Deane stage adaptation of Dracula, frequently revived as a period piece.

It’s probably not coincidental that director Dann Wilhelm played Jonathan Harker in the last Players Club production of the latter show in the early 2000s.

“Dann has a nice quirky sense of this kind of material,” Partridge agreed.

“He likes the story of Frankenstein – he’s actually read Shelley’s novel. He wants it to be realistic on one level while still delivering all the chills.”

The Players Club’s version of Frankenstein has been in the works – or make that the laboratory operating table – for some time, Partridge said.

“We’d been looking for something for this part of the season that had a bit of history and would resonate with people, and Frankenstein 1930 has been on and off the list for five or six years.

“It came together for this season, and it offers a nice challenge with some of the effects we get to do. That’s something we like –  to present shows that are a bit of a challenge. And it’s the kind of show that everybody can get behind.”

Frankenstein 1930 features Elliott Figuera (the slimy Rev. David Lee in Beach House Theatre’s The Foreigner this summer) in the title role of Victor Frankenstein, the young scientist so obsessed with the possibilities of creating artificial human life that he abandons all the ethical considerations of his training.

“He’s not as manic as he was depicted in the 1931 movie,” said Partridge.

“Victor is conflicted. He’s obsessed with his research. He starts to see that he’s crossing the line, but at that point there’s nothing he can do about it. It’s a little more three-dimensional portrait.”

Also featured are Janine Guy as Gorgo – a female counterpart to the traditional henchman, usually Igor in the movies.

“It’s Gorgo in the script,” Partridge observed. “It’s a he, but since Gorgo doesn’t have much of a social life it doesn’t really matter that much. Janine wasn’t what we were expecting but when she came in to audition she had such a spark she just grabbed the role. It’s quite the transformation.”

Frankenstein 1930’s all-important role of ‘The Creature’ – brought to life suddenly and arbitrarily and tragically bewildered by it –  is taken by Jerret Schwartz, who supplies not only the stature but the acting chops required, Partridge said.

“The Creature is the hardest part in the show,” he said.

“You’ve got to do everything with pantomime and looks. We’re lucky to have somebody like Jerret to play it.”

Providing counterbalancing voices of the normal world outside the laboratory are Gary Pettinger as the august Dr. Hellstrom, Victor’s former scientific mentor; Lauren Gloanec (Private Lives) as his distraught fiancee Elizabeth, Brad Dewar as Henry, his loyal childhood friend, and Colleen McGoff Dean as his sweet but firm Aunt Frederica.

“Gary is new to us – he has all the gravitas you want from a man of science, but one who eventually finds himself being swept up in Victor’s enthusiasm,” Partridge said.

“He supplies a lot of the back story, but also dialogue on the moral issues.”

While the ‘Creature’ is usually perceived as the monster of the piece, Partridge noted the play doesn’t shy away from the deeper dilemmas suggested by Frankenstein’s tampering with nature.

“There is this question – is the Creature a person or is it not?” Partridge said.

“I don’t think anyone is 100 per cent sure.

“But it becomes a moot point once he starts his murderous rampage.”

Supporting roles are played by Chantelle and Kris Dewar, Paige Thomsen, Lionel Rust and Charles Buettner; the set design is by Paul Ledaire, with costumes by Laura McKenzie and lighting by Players Club veteran J.P Mackenzie.

Coast Capital Playhouse is located at 1532 Johnston Rd. For tickets and information, call 604-536-7535 or visit www.whiterockplayers.ca

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Investigators placed dozens of yellow evidence markers on the ground near the site of a fatal shooting in Langley City early Wednesday morning. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: 22-year-old man killed in targeted shooting in Langley

South Surrey vehicle fire may be linked to homicide: police

Surrey-raised actor Michael Coleman in some of the roles he’s played since the mid-1990s. (submitted photo)
Chat with Robin Williams helped send Surrey’s Coleman into world of acting

‘For me, it was a game-changer,’ says co-founder of Story Institute acting school

Friends and family of Paul Prestbakmo (from left: Barbara Calder, Leah Charles, Jimmy Slater, Angela Prestbakmo and Liz Prestbakmo) gather outside Surrey Provincial Court on Tuesday (Jan. 26, 2021). (Tracy Holmes photo)
South Surrey murder victim stabbed 42 times: pathologist

RCMP digital-evidence specialist also among witnesses

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
OUR VIEW: Surrey’s public hearings are for being heard

Surrey public hearings of late have been devolving into something less than intended

The White Birch proposal for a six-storey rental-only building at 1485 Fir St. was turned down by council on Monday night. (Contributed rendering)
White Birch developer feels ‘betrayed’ by City of White Rock council

Application for new rental building at 1485 Fir St. turned down by council

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Complicated, dangerous rescue saves man in avalanche near Cypress Mountain

North Shore SAR team braves considerable conditions to reach injured snowboarder

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in waters south of Vancouver Island

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

In this undated image made from a video taken by the Duke of Sussex and posted on @SaveChildrenUK by the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shows the Duchess of Sussex reading the book “Duck! Rabbit!” to their son Archie who celebrates his first birthday on Wednesday May 6, 2020. The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth. (Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK)
Canadian Paediatric Society says raising a reader starts from birth

CPS says literacy is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during a news conference Thursday August 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Easing rules for parental benefits created inequities among parents, documents say

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office says the government will make any necessary changes

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms 1st death amid growing COVID-19 outbreak

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

(Pixabay)
B.C. teacher gets 1 day suspension after ‘aggressively’ throwing dumbbell at student

Documents show the weight would have hit the student if they didn’t catch it

Most Read