So, Danny Boyle’s new production of Frankenstein will feature the lead actors alternating the roles of the Doctor and the Monster. We were so excited at the prospect that we couldn’t decide whether to see Johnny Lee Miller as the Doctor, or Benedict Cumberbatch as the Doctor, or Johnny Lee Miller as the Monster, etc, or go to both. We spent so long agonising over this that now it’s sold out. Well, we’ve solved one problem anyway.
It’s a bit like playing ‘follow the lady’ – you can’t win, whatever the scenario:
1) Both of them are really good in both parts. If you see the play twice you’ve wasted the price of one ticket.
2) Both of them are brilliant as the Doctor. You only enjoy each play half the time.
3) Both of them are brilliant as the Monster. Ditto.
4) One of them is brilliant as the Doctor and the Monster. Ditto
5) One of them is brilliant as the Doctor, and one of them is brilliant as the Monster. Half the audiences are disappointed.
6) They are both rubbish. You’ve wasted all your money. Twice.
We wonder what is behind this gimmicky casting?
a) Sell twice as many tickets? Surely the National Theatre weren’t worried about this show selling out. In which case, it’s selling the same number of tickets to half the number of people.
b) Consumer choice? Is there really that much to choose between Johnny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch, fine actors though both of them are.
c) Two reviews? What’s the point, it’s sold out.
Still, not to be churlish, we’ve got a casting suggestion of our own: Begbie and Spud from Trainspotting.
And in move which brings the whole gimmick-ridden saga full circle, we hear that Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch share the Evening Standard award for best actor.