13 March 2019
Battersea Arts Centre
4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Last night I went to see Frankenstein, how to make a monster, by the Beatbox Academy, at the Battersea Arts Centre. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’m not a fan of hip hop in general, but I went in with an open mind.
What struck me first is that the Battersea Arts Centre is the most accessible theatre venue I’ve seen. Ramps, lifts, accessible loos, as well as gender neutral loos, chill spaces and so much more. It’s amazing to see a venue embrace inclusivity like this. All performances of Frankenstein are also relaxed performances, which is another great step towards inclusivity.
This production of Frankenstein is unlike anything I’ve seen before. All sounds are completely created by the cast of six, no background music or scenic soundscapes from a tape. You wouldn’t guess so by the sound of it though. What these young people can do with their voices is absolutely stunning. From serene nature-scapes to insanely fast percussions, gorgeous vocals to jazzy brass solos, nothing is impossible for these beatboxing champions. A stunning treat for the ears.
Interspersing the original text of the novel with original songs and well known hits creates a very different story, in which we are asked to examine who the monster really is. Has our society devolved into a monstrous mess that breaks people rather than build them up? Are we participating in tearing confidence and shredding souls? The performers definitely make you re-evaluate your view of society.
Poignant, fresh, and modern, this beatboxed production really is something else. I’d absolutely recommend you go and see this, the vocal effects and strength of performance will definitely impress you.