Danny Boyle’s production of Frankenstein is currently on at the National Theatre. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, alternating roles as Victor Frankenstein and the Creature.
This is a time-honoured tradition in British theatre: for instance, Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud famously alternated as Romeo/Mercutio in the 1935 production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet at the New Theatre, London, directed by Gielgud himself - albeit not without trouble.
Needless to say I’m DYING to see Cumberbatch not so much in the Frankenstein role - in which we can safely assume he’ll be excellent - but rather as the Creature. The Creature being the real core of the story, if we follow Mary Shelley’s tremendous original text.
Naturally, the National Theatre show sold out minutes after going on sale, and I haven’t yet been able to get a ticket. I’m going to try and queue for a day ticket/returns (a time-honoured tradition for me, in my theatre-going days), but for those of you who can’t get to London (or don’t fancy braving the crazy Cumberbatch fans, and/or the fierce elderly people who spend their early mornings outside the National Theatre to get in on a day ticket) the NT will broadcast the show live in cinemas worldwide. And they are going to do so twice, so that people can get a chance to experience both performances. Schedule as follows:
Benedict Cumberbatch (Creature), Jonny Lee Miller (Frankenstein)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Frankenstein), Jonny Lee Miller (Creature)
Venues can be found here.
Update: Guardian article about doubles in theatre.