Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster

Just what does it take to make a monster? Is inhumanity truly born simply from reanimation, or is it a product of the already inhumane environment? Re-investigating Mary Shelley’s epic horror, BAC Beatbox Academy’s production amazes with a mind blowing cacophony of perfectly pitched sound. Wildly unique and immaculately performed, Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster is astounding in almost every second of performance.

Wildly unique and immaculately performed, Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster is astounding in almost every second of performance.

It takes a while to settle into this show, with its many breaks of structure to afford introductions. But identifying each individual artists only adds to how much each of them can be appreciated for their unique talents. It is undeniable how accomplished each of their beatboxing skills are, but these performers are so much more than the sum of their combined noisemaking. Playing Dr Frankenstein, Wiz-Rd captivates with early hit Genius, and carries a brilliant bass line throughout. As his monster, Grove’s anger and frustration ignites the atmosphere, her fantastic rapping fuelled by rage. Glitch makes for an excellent narrator when speaking is required, and both she and Aminita provide outstanding vocals. Native the Cr8tive carries a consistently hard hitting beat with awesome attitude, and there is no denying that ABH’s sound creating abilities are something almost out of this world.

Part of what makes Beatbox Academy’s production so essential is the modernising of Shelley’s now classic tale. Running the same risk that multiple retellings of Shakespeare face at the Fringe, there is huge potential here for the show to feel trite. But the urgency and intelligence that imbues Frankenstein’s script compels entirely. Sections of spoken word drive the familiar story forward, but original music covering subjects such as social media, modern beauty standards, and societal racism thrusts the monster with force into the 21st century. Each topic is delivered with such energy and emotion that it’s hard not to feel more than engaged: totally moved.

Ending quite sanctimoniously with a few, again superbly impressive, rap battles between the cast members, it cannot be said that Frankenstein wastes any opportunity for ostentatiousness. But with talent like this, why not show off? Managing to perform a show such as this almost without having to resort to cheesy acapella covers of famous tunes is a feat in itself, and even when this is done it is with refreshing wit and smart scripting. With the relaxed and encouraging feel of the production leading to a sense of absolute ease in watching the show, it actually feels like a shame to have to leave. And left in awe at the frankly astonishing soundscapes these young performers were able to create, you’d be forgiven for rushing back again and again this month.

Reviews by Beverly Sproats

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Since you’re here…

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Mama Biashara
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Electrifying gig. Thrilling theatre. Tongue-twisting vocal gymnastics. Mary Shelley’s original, re-imagined with songs, soundscapes and sonic trickery. Experience the power of the human voice breathing life into monsters all around us. Frankenstein will leave you asking: who are the monsters we fear? Who created them? And how the hell did they just do that with their voices?! BAC Beatbox Academy is Battersea Arts Centre’s homegrown young collective. Having performed at The Royal Festival Hall, Latitude Festival and appeared on Gareth Malone’s The Choir (BBC Two), the collective make their Scottish debut. ‘Mind-blowing’ ***** (Guardian).

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