Fog. Eerie sounds. Flickering lights. A mad scientist and a creature that’s almost as endearing as he is horrifying. It adds up to a good, old-fashioned scare and that’s exactly what the Sherman Community Players current production of Frankenstein 1930 provides.

Fog. Eerie sounds. Flickering lights. A mad scientist and a creature that’s almost as endearing as he is horrifying. It adds up to a good, old-fashioned scare and that’s exactly what the Sherman Community Players current production of Frankenstein 1930 provides.


Frankenstein 1930 is the play based on Mary Shelley’s classic tale of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his obsession with creating life. Shelley was just 21 when she penned the gruesome novel, first published anonymously in London in 1818. The second edition was published in France in 1823, using Shelley’s name. Though it’s been almost two centuries since its writing, Frankenstein has remained a favorite, and SCP’s performance allows audiences to experience it live, up close and personal.


I attended last week’s opening night performance at the Finley Theater. Having read Shelley’s book and viewed multiple movies, I was curious and maybe a bit skeptical about a stage performance of Frankenstein. It didn’t take long to realize it was going to be a frighteningly good time!


The setting, sound, special effects and music can make or break a stage production. That goes double, in my opinion, if said production happens to be in the horror/sci-fi genre. For Frankenstein 1930, the SCP artists, stage and sound designers really showcased their outstanding talents. The unique, two-level stage, Victor Frankenstein’s laboratory of pain, spot-on, hair-raising sound effects, lightning and more, combined with the theater’s close, intimate size, literally transported the audience right into the middle of the story. I actually caught myself looking over my shoulder a time or two just to be sure the creature wasn’t lurking behind me in the shadows.


The actors themselves, from elaborate costuming to performances, truly brought the story to life before our eyes. Everyone did a bang-up job, but I have to make mention of a few in particular.


Ryan Stoll as Victor Frankenstein was intensely believable as an insane doctor hell-bent on bringing the dead to life. I left the theater somewhat concerned that he may actually have a secret lab somewhere.


Victor’s love interest, Elizabeth, was passionately portrayed by Sarah Wilhelm. His heroic best friend, Henry, was played by Jared Tredway. Both gave flawless performances, so much so that I wanted to take them by their shoulders and shake some sense into them. Seeing Victor actually reanimate the sewn together pieces of dead bodies should have been enough to convince them to ditch the doc and get out of Dodge.


My heart went out to the pitiful Gorgo, played to a tee by Jayk Martin. As Victor’s devoted, hunch-backed assistant, Gorgo only wanted a friend, preferably a normal-looking one.


Without a creature, there would be no story, and Ed Richardson gave an outstanding performance as such. A large, hulk of a man, Richardson was perfect as the scared, angry creature.


A tale of such intensity needed a comic break. It was well-provided by Sophie Hermann as Berta, the Frankenstein family servant.


My hat also goes off to: Jerry Barrax whose character greets the audience. His very appearance and somber warning almost gave me more of a fright than did the creature: Deborah Barrax who almost had me in tears as the grieving mother; and Jeff Hermann and Gil Nelson, the funny, ale-filled grave diggers.


‘Tis the season for ghouls and one definitely awaits at the Sherman Community Players. Frankenstein 1930 runs through Oct. 27 plus a special encore performance on Oct. 31. For more information, call 903-893-8525 or visit www.scptheater.org.