I found this article online. I’ve typed it up below in case anyone struggles to read it, because it gets a bit blurry at the right-hand side.
It’s live, has a cast of thousands and a 12-piece band … why Frankenstein’s Wedding is a VERY brave experiment
Meredith Chambers has been talking 19 to the dozen but, for the moment, he is silent. One of the executive producers of BBC3’s Frankenstein’s Wedding … Live in Leeds, he is trying to find the words to explain just how ambitious the project is.
“On the TV brave-ometer, it is pretty much off the scale,” he finally says. ”It’s the most frightening first night of them all and one of the most ambitious television projects ever attempted.”
Frankenstein’s Wedding, a distilled version of Mary Shelley’s classic tale featuring Dr Frankenstein and his laboratory creation, really does push the boundaries. Instead of pre-recording the musical drama being performed tomorrow night to an audience of 12,000 at Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds, the creators have taken the huge gamble of showing it live on national TV.
The show has a cast of hundreds for the wedding of Dr Frankenstein and his childhood sweetheart, Elizabeth, plus a 12-piece band, a 60-strong choir, a wedding dance featuring 2,000 people, a light show, tweets from the central characters and seven shooting locations around the ruins of the abbey, transformed into Frankenstein’s castle.
Thankfully, those in the cast with experience of live television are doing their best to soothe nerves. Former EastEnder Lacey Turner, who plays Elizabeth, is a beacon of calm. As Stacey Branning, she starred in last year’s EastEnders live episode, so knows what it’s like to perform on TV without a safety net.
“My message to everyone had been: don’t panic and try to enjoy every last second of the performance, because it goes so fast,” says Lacey, 22, chatting between rehearsals.
Walking the course of the production is David Harewood, the imposing Shakespearian actor, who has also had TV roles such as Friar Tuck in the BBC’s recent Robin Hood. He is preparing for his grand entrance as the Creature in the Abbey’s graveyard. David, 45, says he’snot remotely insulted at being asked to portray Frankenstein’s creature, described in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel as a monster, a fiend, a wretch, a vile insect and an abhorred devil.
“Hollywood’s idea of the Creature was a monster with a bolt through his neck who couldn’t speak,” says David. ”That’s a total fabrication. Dr Frankenstein actually seeks to create the perfect human specimen who read Milton’s Paradise Lost and spoke fluent French.”
Some of this perfection will have worn off by the time the audience first sees him. His body will have started to degrade - the consequence of the chemicals used by Frankenstein to create him - by the time the live action starts.
David will spend more than two hours in the make-up chair as his body is slowly transformed by prosthetics into a gory mix of skin, blood and sinew.
Newcomer Andrew Gower, who plays Dr Frankenstein, is darting around the abbey’s passageways, eager to establish the the shortest route from his character’s laboratory to to the church. ”I have a scene in the laboratory followed immediately by one in the church, and the distance between the two is pretty much the entire length of the abbey,” he says.
Lavey Turner, meanwhile, has plenty of opportunity to try on her character’s wedding dress. It’s a plain, white Thirties-style Amanda Wakeley number that fits like a glove. ”It’s simple, beautiful and elegant. But on, it hasn’t given me a sudden desire to walk up the aisle for real - I’m still a baby!” says Lacey.
Whether the BBC will enjoy a happy ending tomorrow remains to be seen. But Meredith Chambers thinks he’s ready for anything - including the weather.
“We will try to make a virtue of what the elements throw at us - whether it’s hail, snow, wind or rain. I think we’ll have the most wonderful experience, and I’m sure the audience will too.
“I reckon we’ll get away with it.”