All Girl Frankenstein
Adapted and Directed by Bob Fisher
Now extended through December 14th!
A story-driven, woman-behind-the-monster gothic tale
|The Chicago Mammals presents|
|All Girl Frankenstein|
Review by Katy Walsh
Halloween is always a spookfest. Neighborhoods, bars and theaters channel their inner ghoul. The Chicago Mammals have gotten into the holiday spirit presenting their own twist on a classic. Adapter and director Bob Fisher follows up last year’s successful All Girl Moby Dick (our review) with an all female driven Frankenstein.
The Mammals’ All Girl Project give Chicago actresses an opportunity to play roles traditionally cast with men.
In All Girl Frankenstein, Fisher stays true to novelist Mary Shelley’s classic. This isn’t a gory Hollywood-ized knock off focused on the monster. It’s a story of the young scientist Victor Frankenstein (played by Erin Myers). Fisher has a steadfast Myers confront a growing fascination with bringing the dead back to life. Fisher’s story is more cerebral-tingling than spine-tingling. He balances the focus between morality and mortality. We witness Myers‘ morbid obsession with creating life out of death. Later, we see Meyers’ genuine devastation as her creation, played hauntingly by Amy E. Harmon (Creature), destroys life around her.
Harmon’s Creature is much more eloquent than the flat-headed stereotype. She effectively moans about the humanity of her situation. It almost sounds like Jacob Marley warning Scrooge about his sealed fate unless things change. The audience connects with the glimmer of Harmon’s vulnerability as a corpse having a reluctant awakening. Fisher points the blame back to Myers and his Igor-like sidekick Erin Elizabeth Orr (Clerval). A noteworthy Orr limps and cowers into this pathetic, unhinged character. In one scene, an infatuated Orr shares her disturbing secrets with Myers. It’s moments like that that are more ewwww (icky) than ohhhh (scary).
Fisher’s script showcases the ‘inner demons’ in the entire Frankenstein’s household rather than just the monster on the loose. A mother’s severe puritanical rule is countered with strong erotic impulses of her children and wards. All Girl Frankenstein is not your typical monster flick. The gothic tale is a story-driven, woman-behind-the-monster play. Although I was creeped out, I was never frightened.
POST SHOW NOTE: Walking from the bus, I did get spooked by someone dragging their leg behind me. I thought it was Harmon but it was only a Halloween reveler!
All Girl Frankenstein continues through
November 23rd December 14th at Zoo Studios, 4001 N. Ravenswood, Suite 205 (map), with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. Tickets are $25, and are available online through BrownPaperTickets.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at ChicagoMammals.com. (Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes, includes an intermission)
Photos by Bob Fisher
Erin Myers* (Victor Frankenstein), Amy E. Harmon (Creature), Liz Chase*, Julie Cowden, Jessamyn Fitzpatrick, Loren Jones, Sarah Koerner*, Whitney LaMora, Erin Orr*, Anna Robinson, Sasha Wolloch, Paige Wood Reilly, Rose Sengenberger, Hilary Williams, Paige Wood Reilly, Brittany Dee Bodley, Krista D’Agostino.
behind the scenes
Bob Fisher (adaptor, director, photos), Nathan Wonder, Leigh Barrett, John Ross Wilson (additional collaborators)
* = Chicago Mammals company member