Tonight concluded my experiment in National Theatreology. This time, it was the one I expected to have seen yesterday- Cumberbatch as creator, Miller as creature. I re-watched the making-of bit before, and it was interesting, having just seen the actual performance straight through the previous day, seeing all these actors in much more casual-dress situations but with just as much intensity in their lines.
Then, the baby birthed again, and this time it was Jonny Lee in there. Noticeably different at the start; if BC's opening act is a piece of interpretative dance, JLM's is more of a gymnastic floor exercise. His voice, as he gains it, is more visceral; his gait, more antic, and yes, as one fellow fan noted, he is the much more wet-mouthed of the two monsters. There's a lot more anger in him when he's beaten, yelled at and rejected; on the comic side, he got essentially the same laughs as his Cumberpart did in the previous incarnation.
When Victor makes his first extended appearance at roughly the halfway mark, this version noticeably picked up. BC is just so undeniably himself in whatever role he attempts, and you felt it as his presence took over the scenes with his father, his bride, his brother and ultimately his creation. Yet you saw glimpses, in each of them, of mannerisms and even vocalizations taken from their other role of the previous night. And the ending, which finally boils them down to their rawest and most equal bare humanity, rings even truer once you realize that, in the end, there's really not much difference between the two of them, regardless of who's playing at what.
The only other casting change was a different young actor playing William; both did well, especially in their late scenes with Victor. All the other aspects of the production were solid on both occasions, from the music to the lighting to, especially on this end, the make-up department's complete removal of JLM's prodigious ink from view.
Both shows were preceded by the Tom Hiddleston trailer for Coriolanus,
which also stars Sherlock'
s possibly smarter brother Mark Gatiss.
All in all, a good ending to the day. Tomorrow promises to be longer and far more dull.
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