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Frankensteinís Monster is Drunk and the Sheep Have All Jumped the Fences

A group of people dancing

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Nicky Harley, Vicky Allen, Rhodri Lewis, and Chris Robinson in 59E59ís 2023 production of Frankensteinís Monster is Drunk and the Sheep Have All Jumped the Fences. †Photo by Neil Harrison

 

 

Frankensteinís Monster is Drunk and the Sheep Have All Jumped the Fences

 

By Julia Polinsky

 

 

Frankensteinís Monster is Drunk and the Sheep Have All Jumped the Fences, at 59E59, somehow defies all expectations. Part broad humor, part love story, part audience participation, part everything else, the play bills its story as, ďÖ a match made in horror.Ē Misleading, that; thereís no horror here. (The story on which the play is based won The Moth short story competition, sponsored by The Moth art and literature magazine in Ireland.)

 

 

The basic premise is: after Frankensteinís monsterís Hollywood career fizzles, he hides in a glacier. The townspeople dig Him up after WWII because they need some help, what with all the young men dead in the war or too broken to work. The local undateable girl-giant, who has beaten up or out-drunk every man in town (simply named Her, and beautifully played by the astonishing Nicky Harley) meets Him (a superb Rhodri Lewis) and decides they will marry.

 

For the rest of the 65 minutes of Frankensteinís Monster is Drunk and the Sheep

Have All Jumped the Fences, scene after scene is introduced by two narrators, (Vicky Allen and Chris Robinson) who also hand out bingo cards, carry pitchforks, dance, morph into Elsa Lancaster, search for a missing child, project the images of sheep, visit or work at a hotel, and spend considerable time in some kind of relation to an armoire.

 

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Chris Robinson, Rhodri Lewis, Nicky Harley, and Vicky Allen in 59E59ís 2023 production of Frankensteinís Monster is Drunk and the Sheep Have All Jumped the Fences. †Photo by Neil Harrison

 

 

If this sounds chaotic, it is and it isnít; strip away the antics, and you have a straightforward love story, touching and human, no matter that the male love interest was assembled from the parts of corpses and cannot die. Him and Her argue about poetry and art and music. They have fights and sex and need to feel needed. They have, or nearly have affairs; they operate a hotel; they smoke marijuana and drink heavily Ė thatís how the sheep get lost. †Irony raises its head too, in this play; for example, Her canít have children with Him, yet becomes a well-respected midwife, writes a famous book on midwifery, and saves many, many lives while living with the undead.

 

Laughter runs through Frankensteinís Monster is Drunk and the Sheep Have All Jumped the Fences, but so does anger at injustice, when Him and Her are ostracized at the local bingo night. That injustice ease,s and the townspeople eventually accept this very odd couple. An awkward dinner-with-the-neighbors scene is both funny and touching, when the visitors canít make conversation but their child asks Him to read him to sleep.

 

Inevitably, of course, Her dies, and Him is left alone. The final scene, which lists their children, none of whom survived, tells the stories of the lives they would have lived, if they had indeed lived, and that Him visits the graves on each birthday. The list will break your heart Ė probably the last thing youíd expect from a play about Frankensteinís monster and his wife.

 

 

A person singing into a microphone

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Nicky Harley and Rhodri Lewis in 59E59ís 2023 production of Frankensteinís Monster is Drunk and the Sheep Have All Jumped the Fences. †Photo by Neil Harrison

 

 

Frankensteinís Monster is Drunk and the Sheep Have All Jumped the Fences is unexpectedly delightful, unpredictable, unmissable. Only running through January 28, so get to see it if you can.

 

 

 

 

 

Frankensteinís Monster is Drunk and the Sheep Have All Jumped the Fences

At 59E59 Theaters

59East 59th St

Through January 28

Running time: 65 minutes, no intermission

Tickets, $30; members $35: https://www.59e59.org/shows/show-detail/frankensteins-monster-is-drunk/