Okay, my thoughts have been gathered. Let’s talk about Jonny Lee Miller. First of all I realized for the first time last night that his name has no ‘h’ in it. I acknowledge this makes me a hypocrite because I am normally a bit neurotic about name spelling. Second, I think Jonny Lee Miller is a wonderful actor in his own right, and nothing that I say in this review should degrade from that. In the end, I think that Benedict is the stronger performer, and I will detail why below. This has nothing to do with Sherlock, Elementary, or anything else. I have tried to look at these two actors as objectively as possible, and the following review is what I have come up with.
I thought Jonny gave a strong, uninhibited performance as the Creature. But I’m probably going to remember it as “The play where Jonny Lee Miller drooled on things.” Because there was a lot of drool. The first half of the play was kind of drool central. If it stood still long enough, Jonny Lee Miller would drool on it. Which I kind of have to respect his willingness to do, but it was a bit distracting. It relates back to his general performance, though. It felt much more wide-eyed than Benedict’s, which was interesting. He said he referenced his two-year old as inspiration for movements and actions, and it really shows. Everything about the character was more child-like, and a bit less heavy. It was an interesting change, even a nice change, but it was the execution of it that bothered me, if anything. I found some of his mannerisms sort of distracting, and I wasn’t always one hundred percent sure what his motivations where. I think it comes down largely to control. I felt as if he didn’t have as much control over his body as Benedict did, and because he didn’t have as much control, the Creature had too much. This is not to say that there were not brilliant moments in his performance. There were. I will go as far as to say that his final scene was at least as good, if not somewhat better, than Benedict’s. But he couldn’t sell that first scene as well, and that set the tone for other parts of the performance. Overall, fantastic, but not as clearly defined as Benedict’s. As a post-script, the rape scene was super awkward. I don’t think Benedict was as comfortable in the scene as Jonny was, and it showed. Which, in theory, should mean that Jonny’s performance was better. But it just kind of left me sliding down awkwardly in my seat like “This can stop ANY TIME.”
As for Benedict as Frankenstein, I really don’t mean to beat a dead horse over how much I love this man, but his performance was pretty stunning. Victor has always fascinated me. I have always loved the character, which made me a bit upset that I felt zero empathy for him in Jonny’s performance. Benedict’s was more likable, because his performance was more about the pursuit of science, and less about the pursuit of pride. Which was slightly at odds with the script, but more in line with the novel, so take that as you will. I thought it was lovely, and also that he had better chemistry with the (different) boy who played William Frankenstein. I actually bought them as brothers because they behaved more like brothers.
And that’s pretty much all I have.
Yes. YES. All of this, yes.