Genesis: The Mary Shelley Play

Theatre (storytelling, drama)

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  • C venues – C cubed - main space
  • 17:05
  • Aug 26
  • 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Suitability: 14+ (Guideline)
  • Country: Canada
  • Group: Artists Collective Theatre (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
  • Warnings and additional info: Nudity, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, OtherMature Themes, Sexual Themes
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


Lake Geneva, early summer, 1816. Genesis takes place in the living room of Diodati, Lord Byron’s villa, and the bedroom of Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley's villa. It stunningly portrays the nights of intrigue and titillation that inspired Mary Shelley to produce Frankenstein, exploring social stigmas that maintain a chokehold over human desires, even amongst the libertine upper classes. Genesis has a dark intensity that builds to a hair-raising finale and has received critical acclaim across Canada. The Edinburgh Fringe is its UK debut.

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General venue access

  • Accessible entry: One full flight of stairs and one quarter-flight of stairs up from street level, approx 800mm wide at narrowest.
  • Wheelchair access type: Not fully wheelchair accessible

  • Stairs: 20+
    Number of stairs is provided as guidance and is not in addition to any wheelchair access type (lift/ramp etc) stated above.

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

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  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

Stuart Forbes 83 days ago

Genesis: The Mary Shelley Play has been the highlight of the Edinburgh Fringe. Byron steals the show but its the ethereal performance by Tayla Kenyon that stays with you and leaves you feeling like you actually understand Mary Shelley. Utterly breathtaking.

George McDermid 85 days ago

The characters were so good I hated, loved and sympathised. A nice adaptation of what went on that fateful summer and superbly acted. A real treat.

Niall Murphy 88 days ago

Darkly excellent on the story behind the writing of Frankenstein. The show is really intimate and intense - very well acted, especially Mary Shelley, but a strong cast overall. Edgy (definitely not for children below 14/15) but well worth it.

Nick Humby 89 days ago

Mary Humphrey Baldridge has taken the story of Byron's challenge to his friends on Lake Geneva in 1816 to write a ghost story which led to Mary Shelley writing one of the most famous horror stories of all Frankenstein. She hooks us into the hedonistic world this group inhabited and their obsession with Death and the afterlife.

Tayla Kenyon is excellent as Mary Shelley supporting her husband to be Percy Shelley, Ben Francis , and resisting the extravagant overbearing Lord Byron, Ellis Wells who taunts and teases the others as he tries to reach spirits of the Newstead monastery. He is accused of being "the devil himself ".

Sean Davis 91 days ago

Genesis: The Mary Shelley Play (***)
Set in stormy villa, Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Piercy Shelley, and two others while away the time exploring the spiritual world and trying to write ghost stories. Byron dominates the play as he seduces the poet, and bullies all the others. Though the play does provide a series of events that may have led to Mary’s creation of the Frankenstein story, the focus on Byron’s chronic misdeeds cast a pall over the entire production.

This was the 62nd most enjoyable of the 88 shows I have seen so far this year. You may see my other three-sentence reviews, in order from most enjoyable to worst, at my non-commercial website:

Straight backta Leith 98 days ago

In a very intimate setting, the acting was excellent and none of the actors lost focus for a second, in spite of being within touching distance of their audience. In return it kept the audience captivated from start to finish. A great job recreating the atmosphere of the time. If you like this kind of thing I think you’ll love this. *****

Elle 98 days ago

The blonde actress carried this mediocre disjointed play. The nudity was not integral to the play and was unnecessary. I’m far from being a prude, I just don’t think it added anything to the show and actually cheapened the talent of the actresses. The boys were loud and over confident but ultimately, the show just wasn’t very good.

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ThreeWeeks (3/5 stars) 83 days ago

This UK premiere depicts how Mary Shelley came to write ‘Frankenstein’, being set in Geneva in the early 19th century, where the writer and her lover Percy Shelley are on holiday with their friends Lord Byron, his partner Claire and Doctor Polidori. Inclement weather arrives, forcing them all to stick...

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FringeReview 85 days ago

For lovers of the gothic, the events surrounding Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s creation of her Frankenstein story are familiar.  Holidaying on lake Geneva in 1816, the year without summer, with Lord Byron, her husband-to-be Percy Shelley, step-sister Claire Collinson and Byron’s companion Dr John Polidori.  It’s a set up ripe with...

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British Theatre Guide (3/5 stars) 90 days ago

It's curious that despite, this play being called Genesis: The Mary Shelley Play, for great swathes of it, she remains something of a background character. This could be in part due to the larger than life personalities and the lusty, baleful squabbling all around her, but it remains that until...

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Edinburgh Guide (4/5 stars) 94 days ago

In June 1816, in the Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva, the celebrated romantic poets Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley spend an evening with their young paramours Mary Wollstonecraft and Claire Clairemont. Byron's personal physician John Pollidori is with them. The weather is dreadful, and to pass the time, they...

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Broadway Baby (3/5 stars) 96 days ago

The Artists Collective Theatre consider what could prompt an eighteen year old girl to create one of the most lauded, feared, impressive and appalling tales of the overpowering need for love, life and recognition in the canon. Well, the teenager in question is of course, no blushing violet, but the...

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The Wee Review (3/5 stars) 101 days ago

Artists Collective Theatre from Canada bring to life the events that led to Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein. Published in 1818, when Mary was only 20, Frankenstein remains a seminal work in gothic horror. The play covers the events leading up to Mary’s determination to put her thoughts on paper. The scene is...

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.