Teen dancers bring authenticity

Sarah McNeill, The Post

Last year, 15 year old Luci Young went three times to see the dance production, Frank Enstein, each time taking friends to introduce them to contemporary dance. “I knew they would really like this one, and they’d get it,” said Luci, who now finds herself dancing one of the lead roles in a new production.

Dance company Co3 is reviving the hugely successful show to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s novel, but this time two teenage performers replace adults in the lead roles. Luci, a Year 10 MLC student, started dancing when she was nine and studies ballet on a scholarship at the Graduate College of Dance. In 2015, she joined Co3’s youth ensemble and is a reserve in the company’s elite dance squad. She is making her professional debut in the role of Liz, dancing opposite William Rees (16).

William, who has limited use of his left arm after a brachial plexus injury at birth, has pursued his love of acting at school and at the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art. As Frank Enstein, he plays a lonely boy dealing with a physical impairment. To fulfil his desire to be normal and accepted, he harnesses electricity from a storm, and with nothing but his imagination and the garbage in his lab, he creates monsters to be his friends.

The show was created by Gavin Webber and Grayson Millwood from Queensland company The Farm. It was originally conceived as a work for children, exploring ideas of self-worth and self-acceptance, and co-director Gavin said that casting teenagers instead of adults in the lead roles brought a whole new perspective to the story. Luci and William have spent time rehearsing with Gavin and Grayson.

Luci said she loved the role of Liz, a girl attracted to Frank. Frank assumes she will never like him, so he creates a monster in her image. Luci said: “I love the quirkiness as her relationship with Frank develops. She can get quite wild, and Gavin and Grayson have given me so much freedom to choreograph my own solo piece.”

Co3 dancers Andrew Searle, Talitha Maslin, and Zachary Lopez will reprise their roles as Frank’s monsters. Funny, quirky and poignant, Frank Enstein returns to the State Theatre Centre from April 11 to 15.