Twisted bodies at the heart of the monster

Jenny D’Anger, Perth Voice¬†

 

Frank Enstein turns 200 this year, but everyone’s favourite monster remains as fresh as the day he lurched from the pages of Mary Shelley’s novel.

In fact he’s so popular Perth contemporary dance company Co3 is brining back its modern-day take on the tale, Frank Enstein, following a sell-out 2017 season.

The company commissioned award-winning Queensland choreographers Gavin Webber and Grayson Millwood for the work: “They had been thinking about Frank Enstein for a number of years,” artistic director Raewyn Hill says.

It’s a poignant, but hilarious, tale of self-acceptance with a modern day twist, says Hill.

“It’s a story we can all relate to; the struggle to fit in, to find a place, to find worth. We all sometimes need that reminder to be a little less judgemental and a little more accepting of ourselves and those around us,” the North Perth local says.

 

Adults played all the characters in last year’s performance, but this year 16-year-old William Rees plays Frank, and 15-year-old Luci Young plays Liz.

With a physical disability Frank finds it impossible to make friends so he creates his own, harnessing electricity from a storm to build them from imagination and rubbish in his lab.

“[To] fulfil his desire to be normal and to be accepted by other,” says Hill.

“Can he control what he creates? And who is the real monster anyway?”

Rees brings realism to the role, the young man suffering a brachial plexus at birth that restricts the use of his left arm: “[He brings] his unique experience of performing with a disability to the character,” Hill says.

 

Luci Young is currently studying ballet on a Graduate College of Dance scholarship, and is in year 10 at MLC.

The recasting of teenagers give the works an added freshness, Hill says.

“What better way to tell the story than through our young people.”

Dancers Andrew Searle, Talitha Maslin and Zachary Lopes reprise their roles as the monsters Frank brings to life.

The performance is a mix of dance, images and dialogue, making it easier for audiences to relate to than contemporary dance, which can be difficult to interpret, Hill says.

 

Frank Enstein is on at the Heath Ledger Theatre, April 11 to 15.

Tickets $35 through Perth Theatre Trust.