Frankenstein’s Wedding at Kirkstall Abbey
Guest blog post by Sarah Dunwell of Create Leeds.
My 16 year old daughter was desperate to see Frankenstein’s Wedding and so it was primarily on her behalf that I tweeted a plea for tickets to the event. The always generous Emma offered not only a couple of tickets, but VIP tickets no less, that included a backstage tour, free bar and food and indoor seating with large screens on which to watch the show when it got just too cold to be outside. I’d read up on the build up to the event and have to admit that I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m not normally the dressing up and dancing a field sort of girl…my views on that sort of behaviour seem to mirror that of @philkirby!
Jennifer and I arrived in our finest wedding attire and soon found that what we’d worried would be terribly OTT was actually dressed down compared to the sea of fur, lace, feathers and assorted fascinators stretching as far as the eye could see. An hour later, having done the backstage tour (we were very excited when Mark Williams of Harry Potter fame wondered past and said hi), eaten far too many canapés and drunk just enough Peroni to loosen up, we went outside to our little beside-the-stage seating area and watched the 12,000 strong crowd practice their wedding dance as the sun set.
There was some confusion when the show began. While those watching at home on BBC3 were watching bits of the programme filmed before-hand, or when they cut to scenes in the church, bedroom, lab or lantern lined courtyard (remind anyone of the #jellywobble lanterns?) then the lights went down on the stage and we were left watching a big TV in a field. When the stage show was on the atmosphere was great, although the burger vans in the background didn’t add anything to the ambiance when I watched the show on iPlayer the next day!
So the final verdict from me? It was a lovely evening and with our splendid VIP tickets we were looked after very well by the BBC team. We wandered out into the main viewing area a couple of times (you couldn’t see the screen from our special enclosure – you had to go back indoors to watch TV) and people were obviously having fun when there was something to watch on the stage. If I was being a tiny bit harsh I’d say it was a very ambitious project that didn’t quite hit the mark in its execution. Kirkstall Abbey was the most amazing setting, especially lit up the way that it was and with the larger-then-life full moon overhead. There had been an incredible amount of work put into pulling off this unique project, but…the singing (especially in the early scenes) was dodgy and the fabulous Phoenix dancers were wasted in their roles. I enjoyed watching it on TV and certainly managed to fill in some of the gaps in my understanding of the story, as well as enjoying identifying the bits of Leeds I know well.
And the last word should go to Jennifer…who had been the reason we were there, after all. This is her round up of the event:
“Lots of my friends had tickets but none of them had VIP tickets…thanks Culture Vultures! I loved getting dressed up and seeing all of the other costumes and I thought Lacey Turner was brilliant as Elizabeth. I watched some of the show on the TV screens inside and went outside for the stage bits – watching the audience doing the wedding dance was brilliant, they really nailed it! I think the BBC should do more stuff like this and they should definitely film it in Leeds”.Tags: bbc3, Kirkstall Abbey, lacey Turner