Performance Review: Luna Theater’s Monster

Monster by Neal Bell

Luna Theater Company

Directed by Gregory Scott Campbell

Starring Mary Lee Bednarek, Christopher M. Bohan, Gene D’Alessandro, Dan Hodge, John Lopes, Melissa Lynch, and Lena Mucchetti

10 words or less … Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster, which then destroys his life.

Strengths … Monster, adapted beautifully from Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein, tells the story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s sinister experiments in reanimating human remains. Luna Theater’s production brings this complex story to life with a dramatic simplicity that allows the horror of this spine-chilling epic to literally shock its audiences. Gregory Scott Campbell’s direction is flawless, his intensely physical staging powerfully evocative and at times terrifying. Although the set is merely a suggestion of a hardwood floor and one wooden chair, Campbell has succeeded in creating an entire 19th-century world through his creativity and vision. He is assisted resourcefully by Maria Shaplin’s fluid lighting, Ryk Lewis’s intricate sound design, Lena Mucchetti’s (appropriately) scary makeup effects, and Millie Hiibel’s beautiful costumes.

Weaknesses … Absolutely none!

Verdict … Do not miss Monster! This production is what all theater should be like. Campbell’s innovative theatrical vision allows his actors to deliver amazing performances. While there is not a weak link in this talented cast, it must be noted that Dan Hodge is remarkably good in his subtle, intelligent, and complex performance as Victor. John Lopes is so skilled in his portrayal of the Creature that he is shockingly frightening and compassionately tender, often in the same scene. Melissa Lynch delivers such a sensitive and vulnerable performance that she keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Luna does so much with so little in this production that it leaves me hungry to see what this innovative company could do with a full-out theater and a grand budget.

Through November 2 at the Walnut Street Theatre, Independence Theatre on 3. Tickets $10 to $35.