The Korea Herald


[Herald Review] Frankenstein’ musical grim, but totally worth it

By 이우영

Published : Dec. 13, 2015 - 17:38

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The musical rendition of one of the world’s most recognized horror tales, “Frankenstein” is guaranteed to send chills down the spine this bleak winter.

Returning to the stage after premiering last year, the musical version of Frankenstein is one of few original Korean productions. Although based on Mary Shelley’s 19th century novel of the same title, the Wang Yong Beom Production’s musical adds new characters and plot twists to the classic monster tale. 

Reportedly costing some 4.5 billion won ($3.85 million) to produce, with nearly 118 million won allocated for stage props, the Korean musical rendition has all the feel of a large-scale Broadway production.  

A scene from Korean original musical production “Frankenstein” (Chungmu Art Hall) A scene from Korean original musical production “Frankenstein” (Chungmu Art Hall)

Whether it is the thunderous sound of gunfire loud enough to make one’s heart skip a beat or the smell of smoke and extensive use of video projections, the financial investment dedicated to stage props proved to be money very well spent. Most notably, Victor Frankenstein’s infamous laboratory was a visionary splendor enough to make one think it actually possessed the technology to create a monstrous creature.

This musical’s story follows the tale of Victor Frankenstein, whose unfortunate personal tragedies lead him down the path of destruction, devoting his life to creating new life. Victor soon makes a new friend in Henry Dupre (an original character for this production), who just happens to be an expert in stitching together human body parts.

Before his death, Henry asks Victor to use his body for the sake of science. Fulfilling his promise, Frankenstein uses body parts and the head of his friend to bring Henry back to life. However, the attempt to create life results in the creation of a bloodthirsty monster that terrorizes anyone who crosses its path.  

Frankenstein is one of the few musicals today that does not bombard the audience with sappy love songs and Disney-like happily-ever-after characters. Rather, the show is dark, yet pleasantly grim.  
A scene from Korean original musical production “Frankenstein” (Chungmu Art Hall) A scene from Korean original musical production “Frankenstein” (Chungmu Art Hall)

With maimed body parts, decapitated heads and one gruesomely horrifying creature, it may not be a good idea to have kids tagging along for the musical.

This year’s production stars actors Yu Jun-sang, Park Gun-hyung, Jeon Dong-seok and Park Eun-tae. 

“Frankenstein” is to be performed daily, except Mondays, at the Chungmu Art Hall’s Grand Theater in Seoul until Feb. 28. Ticket prices range from 60,000 won to 140,000 won. For more information, call 1666-8662.

By Julie Jackson (