Tag: gothic

Manx LitFest – Re-telling of Frankenstein by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones

A couple of weeks ago now I attended a fantastic event – a re-telling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones.

 

About the Book

We all know the story. Frankenstein, in his fascination for creating “perfect life” through his love of science, accidentally creates a monster. Horrified, he shuns the monster which flees and goes into hiding.

Frankenstein’s monster gradually evolves from a base-instinct creature to something more human by learning from them secretly. But humans don’t accept him; they reject him for his horrifying appearance. Therefore, his loneliness and rage for the contempt shown make him a bitter, twisted creature. Frankenstein comes to rue the day of the monster’s creation.

 

 

Organisers

The event was held as part of the Manx LitFest in September. The first Manx LitFest took place in September 2012. So, this year was the seventh such festival.

In addition, as this year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, organisers approached Ben Haggarty for the event. Ben is the leader of the Crick Crack Club, a successful performance storytelling group in the UK. He has performed at the Manx LitFest in previous years and they appealed to him (not for the first time) to perform Frankenstein. This year, he agreed.

 

Location

The Gaiety Theatre was the ideal location. Constructed at the end of the Victorian era and opened to the public in July 1900, it is an old theatre. Historically, it has undergone extensive restoration work to preserve the building as close to the original design as possible. As a result, the ornate Victorian architecture of the building itself truly set the tone before the performance even began.

Fun fact: The Gaiety Theatre is one of the few remaining theatres in the world to have a functioning Corsican Trap.

I also had the benefit of a central seat in the third row… and I confess I turned up quite early. So, I spent a while admiring the place whilst I waited. It’s not that I have never been before; I have never been on my own before. You notice quite a lot of things when there aren’t distractions to keep you from them!

 

My Thoughts…

Ben Haggarty (as the primary storyteller) and Sianed Jones (multi-instrumental and vocal accompaniment) performed Frankenstein very well. The musical pieces performed by Sianed are the perfect counterpart to Ben’s narration. At times the music helps to build the atmosphere and tension. In others, it serves to break up the narration and keeps the performance flowing. As a result, it added the right atmosphere to an already haunting tale.

The storytelling itself was excellent. Ben has a real talent for conducting himself on stage and consequently keeping the audience engaged. No word was left unpolished and no gesture unplanned. Consequently, he portrayed each of the characters clearly and perfectly. Naturally, Ben has to embody a number of roles at any given time and he switches between them effortlessly! The dialogue in which Frankenstein and the monster confront each other is intense and very well executed.

The fact that I rushed home and picked up the book straightaway is a testament to how much I enjoyed this performance. This was the first time that I attended an event like this… and I am glad I did!

I sincerely hope it isn’t the last.

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 7th October 2018

I’m writing my Sunday Summary. That means another weekend is over. Seriously… they go WAY TOO FAST!!

Not to rub it in… Okay, I am totally rubbing it in, but I have some long overdue time off coming up! So, next week is a really short one for me work-wise. Hopefully my next Sunday Summary will be chock-a-block with progress. I’m going to stay optimistic on that point, okay? We’ll see!

So, back to this week – what has happened? Well, I shared this month’s reading list with you all! I have some exciting books on the list, so if you haven’t taken a look yet, please do! On Friday I took part in a much-anticipated blog tour for A Stain on the Soul by Elizabeth Davies. This is the second book of the Caitlin series. In a few weeks time, I’ll be reviewing the next book – Another Kind of Magic. I received my copy on Monday and I cannot wait to read it at last! A Stain on the Soul leaves us on quite a cliffhanger; I cannot imagine how things are going to pick up.

There is also a little something that didn’t happen – sorry guys! I promised a post about the recent re-telling of Frankenstein on Friday. I’m going to make that up to you next week. If I am entirely honest, I had planned that for Friday, forgetting that was my blog tour date. Next week, I promise!

Now, onto a more positive note: what books have I been reading this week?

 

Books Read

It is hardly surprising that after re-kindling my love for the tale of Frankenstein, I picked up the book. Is it on my reading list? Nope. Oh well, the heart wants what the heart wants. I cannot and will not deny myself. I finished the second half of the book this week, with a little less fire and enthusiasm I’ll admit, but I am glad I read it. It isn’t the easiest book to read, but not having to analyse it to death like I did when I was fourteen is a huge help!

School really knows how to be a killjoy when it comes to reading.

This weekend, I moved on to Muse of Nightmares! I picked this book up on Tuesday after work. I practically ran… but only PRACTICALLY. I don’t run. I was fast walking at a push, really.

 

But anyway, I got it, and I started reading this on Friday and have pretty much been flying through it since! Even though I have been out a lot of the day today, I am still 75% through it. I’ll be highly surprised if I haven’t finished it by this time tomorrow night. I know what I am like, after all…

 

Books Discovered

Technically I acquired my copy of Muse of Nightmares this week, after a long wait, so I’ll include it here. As I’ve already talked about that above, I won’t linger on it here!

I also purchased a copy of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories. Not only is this appropriate for the time of year, but it also features stories from authors I like. George R. R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Stephen King are just three of the contributors. I’ll look forward to reading these!

 

Coming Up…

So, what posts can you expect to come up next week?

Well, as promised, I’ll be writing a post about the recent event I attended, a re-telling of the story of Frankenstein. It was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I am also determined to finish the Mystery Blogger post I started several weeks ago! Now, I’ll have the time to mull it over, so I am going to finish it… even if it kills me. Overdramatic much!

I am also using my free time to do some work in the background. Most of it probably won’t even be noticed, but I have some tidying up to do. I experienced some gremlins when I migrated by blog a few months ago, so I’ll be batting them over the head with a stick, figuratively speaking of course. I am also hoping to make a slight change to the appearance of my blog, but fixing the problems are priority… and there’s a few of them.

Fingers crossed I’ll have it all fixed soon!

What books are you reading?

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 30th September 2018

There is no eloquent way I can accurately express how well this week has gone for me!

I don’t know what it is lately, but I have felt a little bogged down. Perhaps it is work in general… or maybe because I have a number of blogging obligations. Either way, things have felt sluggish. I’ll admit I have been a little light on the blog-post-publishing front, but I think I needed those few days. I have no regrets.

This week I have only published one post – a Blog Tour review for Ragis by Donna Migliaccio. I have fallen so hard in love with this series this year; if you haven’t read it yet, I implore you to… you won’t regret it!

I promised a Mystery Blogger post as well. It’s already late (in my eyes anyway) and I haven’t been in the mood to write it. I’m not going to force the issue otherwise it won’t make for an enjoyable post. It’s a work in progress – maybe I’ll publish it one day!

I was having a good week anyway, in reading terms. I’ve also had a bookish event to look forward to, as this week has been the Manx LitFest. Unfortunately, due to other absences at work, I haven’t been able to attend many events. I did, however, attend a re-telling of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” at the Gaiety Theatre on Friday. I loved it; it was the first time I have attended an event like it. I hope I get the chance to again!

After going to see that performance, I feel revitalised. That might sound incredibly bizarre, I know, but it was good to break the norm. There aren’t many bookish events here and I seldom get the opportunity to meet like-minded people. I booked my ticket to attend in May, so I have been looking forward to it for a while! I think I am going to write a separate post about it very soon.

 

Books Read

 

It has been a good reading week, despite one book ending up on the DNF pile. I don’t like doing this, but if I cannot get on with a book, forcing myself to read it is worse.

After last week’s update, I finished A Stain on the Soul by Elizabeth Davies. I recently read and reviewed Three Bloody Pieces; ASoTS follows on from events in book one and I’ll also be reviewing this very soon! I had hoped to move on to the last book in the series next, however, since that book is not touring until November, I haven’t received my copy yet.

I picked up Desolation by Jesper Schmidt instead, although I confess, not for very long. This is the book I, unfortunately, had to resign to the DNF pile. Much of the narrative is spent trying to set up this fantasy world, yet it is difficult to invest into. I couldn’t warm to the writing style. I hate not finishing a book, but I decided quite early on that it wasn’t for me. It isn’t fair to force myself through a book I am not enjoying and even less so on the author when it comes to committing my thoughts to paper.

So, moving swiftly on – with my reading list for September done (as much as possible), I returned to reading The Eye of the World. This book is huge and the plot complicated, so I think I’ll be reading this in dribs and drabs until I get to the end. I have managed to read another 10% of the book, which to my mind is pretty good going. Having taken a break, it wasn’t all that difficult to get back into. I suppose it’s a good job really, given its size!

After going to watch the re-telling of Frankenstein on Friday night, I came home, made myself a cuppa and picked up the book straightaway! If that doesn’t tell you how much I loved it, then I don’t really know what will! I last read the book at the age of 14 and hated it! I have often said this for all the books I studied at school, but changed my mind when reading them again for pleasure. Frankenstein is also proving to be the same. I fell asleep reading this at around 1am on Saturday morning – that’s how unwilling I was to put it down! I am now halfway through the book… it won’t take long to finish either!

 

Books Discovered

Whilst I haven’t *bought* any books this week (which is a miracle, since payday has arrived), I have used some audible credits that I’ve had for a while.

I’ve added my first Phillip Pullman book to the list! I have heard a few things about this author, so when I saw a book by him set in Victorian England, I listened to the sample! This is going to be a really interesting listen and I cannot wait to try this new author!

I have also downloaded Lock In by John Scalzi. I am making a conscious effort to read/listen to more science fiction books, so this is a perfect fit. This will be the first book I have tried from this author too, so I’ll have to see what I make of this. Maybe I’ll be reading more of their books in future!

 

Coming Up…

It’s October tomorrow. The leaves are starting to turn, cold winds are rising and there is a nip in the air. Okay, so I’m being a little dramatic. But, the point is, it’s a new month! You know what that means… a new reading list! It is another busy month of review requests and blog tours, as well as a getting my hands on a much-anticipated release, MUSE OF NIGHTMARES!

Since I enjoyed the re-telling of Frankenstein so much, on Friday I’ll be taking the opportunity to tell you a little about it, as well as those that took part and made the event possible! I hope you can join me for that!

In the meantime, ladies and gents, keep reading!