a rainy summer, a lonely country house, a poetry competition and a mere 18-year-old woman. These are the ingredients that Mary Shelley used in 1816 to creatw one of the most successful horror stories. „Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus“ is a timeless story that fascinated diverse generations for nearly two hundred years. It was probably only a matter of time before this material found its way to the musical stages in the world. Now Ruhr Musical eV directed by Stefan Haberkorn and musical direction of Stephan Langenberg has dared to take on the play. With success.
We are at the end of the 18th century and experience the young Victor Frankenstein ( sung by Stefan Haberkorn ) leaving his family, his beloved Elizabeth (Vera Domik ) and his best friend Henry ( Kai Lamers ) for Ingolstadt. At the University of Natural Philosophy he is about to study chemistry and medicine. Its major goal is to liberate mankind from death. In a fateful November night his efforts deliver results. Using his technique he breathed new life into a convicted and hanged criminal ( Thomas Placzek ). Frightened by his own creation, Frankenstein set his laboratory on fire and flees. The monster was created. Disfigured and helpless the creature remains. For months, it roams about, desperately seeking a place and is experiencing rejection, disgust and incomprehension. Angry at his creator the monster seeks revenge and kills Frankenstein’s little brother. But the violence and horror might come to an end. In a trade, the creature asks his creator for a bride with which he could settle somewhere. As Frankenstein is persuaded at first, but doesn’t obey to the monster after all, a breathless chase to the Arctic begins.
The story is catchy, the songs written by Marc Baron and Jeffrey Jackson are great! Unfortunately, the sound was an absolute disaster in Duisburg’s Waldhalle. The ensemble – with mainly good performance – of course, can not be blamed for that. The hall , originally probably not designed for musical theater had too many rough edges, at which the sound could break. The technique was overridden, the microphones of the ensemble and the soloists were equal loud, which is why the latter often unfortunately perished in the sound of the ensemble. At least there were some vocal highlights. Thomas Placzek. Clear, clean and accentuated. His performance was an absolute delight. Same holds true for Kai Lamers, who sang a comparatively small but effective role with Henry Clerval. He impressed (not just me, as I learned in conversations with other guests). Of course this is very subjective form of criticism, but less convincing in my eyes was the performance of the lead Stefan Haberkorn. He indicated a beautiful, powerful voice. But in the transition from chest to head voice he, however, repeatedly broke so that one could not assess whether it was overexertion or intentional (if so, shame).
I have, however, very much enjoyed the evening and admit that Frankenstein and the ensemble have a great potential. I will continue to definitely keep an eye on the Ruhr Musical eV and watch future productions in any case.