Hoping for a monster hit. Frankenstein comes to Salisbury Playhouse


Salisbury Playhouse and Bristol-based Living Spit have come up with a monster new musical comedy adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic masterpiece, Frankenstein.

Commissioned by Salisbury Playhouse, the production is written and performed by Living Spit’s Howard Coggins and Stu Mcloughlin, who have developed a strong following for irreverent musical adaptations of historical and literary works.

Frankenstein sees Living Spit performing on a main stage for the first time, with a live four-piece band performing an original score.

The show later transfers to Tropicana in Weston-Super-Mare as the biggest production to be staged at the formerly derelict venue since Banksy’s Dismaland initiated its resuscitation in 2015.

Gareth Machin, artistic director, Salisbury Playhouse, said: “We are proud to support and facilitate Living Spit to take its work to a new level and reach more audiences, while retaining all of its ingenuity, wit and playfulness.

“The company has been a joy to host in The Salberg and we are excited to share their work on the Main Stage for the first time and engage with new audiences at Tropicana”.

Coggins and Mcloughlin, of Living Spit added: “The opportunity to work with Salisbury Playhouse on the co-production of Frankenstein enables Living Spit to take a giant creative step that rivals that of Victor Frankenstein himself.

“We’re also looking forward to the opportunity of taking it to the iconic Tropicana – until recently a dark, deserted lido on the edge of the sea. We think the pioneering spirit of Mary Shelley would approve.’

Living Spit was founded by the pair in 2012, to present The Six Wives of Henry VIII (initially inspired by the notion that Howard really does look like Henry VIII).

It has since toured pubs, studio spaces and rural venues, with productions based on historical stories or classical text, including A Christmas Carol, Adolf and Winston and Elizabeth I – Virgin on the Ridiculous.

Its most recent production was The Fabulous Bacon Boys, a retelling of The Three Little Pigs. The company has been instrumental in revitalising the arts scene in North Somerset, since the area had all its arts funding cut almost a decade ago.

This season, Salisbury Playhouse Original Drama also revives its first commission, Worst Wedding Ever by Chris Chibnall, following its sell-out success in 2014.

Co-produced with New Wolsey Theatre and Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Worst Wedding Ever will run at Salisbury Playhouse, February 2-25; New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, March 1-11; Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, March 15-April 1.

There is also the premiere of The Night Before Christmas (December 5-31), a new musical adaptation by Gareth Machin and Glyn Kerslake.

For pre-school children, it is Salisbury Playhouse Original Drama’s first ever musical and first ever production for children.

Frankenstein runs at Salisbury Playhouse from October 20-November 5 and Tropicana, Weston-Super-Mare, November 12-20.

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