Anyone who knows me knows I'm a theater-nut. When I was young, my parents took us to the touring productions of Broadway plays. Annie, Cats, and some local Chicago theater productions. In my travels to London, I always manage to see at least one musical or play. So when I heard that the National Theatre was broadcasting the sold out "Frankenstein" and it was playing near me, I quickly bought my ticket.
Since most everything about the play has already been said by others, I'll just report my thoughts.
1)As my first theater to film experience, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The camera work and crane shots never allowed you to feel like you were in the NT but we were privileged to see the actors expressions and the wonderful makeup on the Creature, something that the live audience couldn't see. The crane shots were lovely, very movie-like in the scene where the creature is experiencing rain for the first time.
2)Benedict Cumberbatch was amazing as the creature. Having only seen him in cerebral roles like Sherlock, his agility scaling the scenery and his emotional range made me realize he's one of the better actors of today. Sadly, Johnny Lee Miller didn't have much to do as Dr. Victor and only his scenes with the Creature gave me any indication of his acting range.
4)Supporting characters were a mixed bag. Naomi Harris was underutilized as Elizabeth with only her last scene with the Creature showing her true caring nature. Karl Johnson was as dependable as every as the old blind man and stole every scene. The rest of the cast were very weak.
Can't fault the aesthetics as the scenery, music and rotating stage were effectively used and shows off Boyle's talents. It's not a particularly deep production and there are physiological aspects of the play that weren't full developed. But as a piece of entertainment for $20, it was marvelous. At the end, our theatre burst into applause at the curtain call for 5 minutes.
As for myself, I enjoyed it enough to buy a ticket to the reverse showing in April. You can also buy the soundtrack on iTunes if you so desire. While not a patch on a night in the West End, for those of us who are in America, it's the next best solution.
Here's a shot of the cafe outside the theater.