In theory, this could have been an innovative new take on a classic horror tale. Black light theatre deals with shadows and darkness and imagination, perfect elements for any tale of ghosts and monsters. In reality, however, it was a confusing, awkward mess. This is not a retelling of the Frankenstein story by any means – something which might have prejudiced me against it, admittedly, as I had just finished reading Mary Shelley’s novel. However, I can, in general, overcome creative license. This was not creative license. In essence, Colour Dreams of Dr. Frankenstein follows the mad scientists on a cross European train trip on a quest to…..I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. He began by creating a monster in a graveyard and feeling up his assistant and ended with killing Count Dracula. The Invisible Man and other classic icons also jump in an out of the fast paced vehicle. Somewhere in there lies the plot.
The beginning actually began promising. Setting the graveyard scene was impressive and upbeat, while suggesting a 70s camp horror film. The Invisible Man’s dance was likewise technically impressive. After the opening 15 minutes, however, much of the technical feats fell by the wayside, replaced by awkwardly juvenile humor and a winding, senseless “plot”. A cross-continent train ride had small interludes of the doctor with a group of women in the ‘guise’ of the current country. This was entertaining in theory, but each act stretched on so long and seemed so out of place. There was no clear sense if the mad scientist was being seduced, rejected, mocked or going through an acid trip. I knew we were at a low point when Dr. Frankenstein ended up in the ocean dancing with jellyfish. And while maybe the company can justify putting the doctor in the ocean, there is no reason to show Dr. Frankenstein peeing in a train. He might as well have been peeing on Mary Shelley’s grave.