Manual Cinema's Frankenstein

  • Underbelly, Bristo Square - McEwan Hall
  • 14:45
  • Aug 26
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Suitability: 12+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United States
  • Group: Underbelly and Manual Cinema
  • Warnings and additional info: Please note that this is a reserved seating venue, you will automatically be assigned seats. If you have a question about the seats you were assigned, please contact the box office you purchased your tickets through.
  • Accessibility: May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


Love, loss and creation merge in unexpected ways in this thrilling classic gothic tale conceived by Manual Cinema. Stories of Victory Frankenstein, Mary Shelley and her Monster expose how the forces of family, community and education shape personhood, or destroy it by their absence. Internationally renowned multimedia company Manual Cinema stitches together the classic story of Frankenstein with Mary Shelley's own biography to create an unexpected story about the beauty and horror of creation. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques and innovative sound and live music to create immersive visual stories for stage and screen.

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General venue access

  • Accessible entry: Information not supplied
  • Wheelchair access type: Level Access

  • Stairs: Information not supplied

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

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
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  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

Suz 80 days ago

The production was excellent and the various techniques they used to create the visuals were impressive. The live music was fantastic too. I thought the storytelling could have been a lot stronger and this let the show down a bit. I saw a couple of their previous fringe shows and one in particular - Ada/Ava, was both engaging and very moving, something got lost in Frankenstein a bit, possibly in part to do with the much larger size of the production for Frankenstein but I also didn’t feel particularly engaged or moved by this story, so I am sorry to say that I came away feeling a bit disappointed.

Hieder 82 days ago

Easily the most innovative performance I've ever seen. How on earth did they put all that together? And bringing in the Shelley backstory just elevated it even higher. Please come back next year.

Fleur Nixon 83 days ago

Magical, literally! I absolutely loved this show. One of my favourites out of all the fringe shows I've seen since I started coming here in 2011. Beautiful, stunning, a work of art. I can't praise this highly enough.

Davey Boy 84 days ago

An amazing production. Beautifully put together and staged. Possibly could have been slightly shorter and I felt the music could have been more impactful but really is a must see.

James Taverner 85 days ago

I really enjoyed this. A classy production - atmospheric live music, wonderful silent cinema style performances, and incredible co-ordination to create the movie before our eyes. Interesting, and well worth seeing.

Lucy D 85 days ago

It's difficult to find words to describe the impact of seeing Manual Cinema and the level of skill required to achieve the perfection of their performance. You'll be spellbound, heartbroken, impressed, and warmed. Stop reading reviews and book tickets!

Emma 85 days ago


Some parts remind me of the German Expressionism Cinema

AK 86 days ago

Not one that we’d booked in advance but glad we did go to watch it during our visit
Definitely recommend to anyone going to the Fringe. Well deserved 5 stars!
Well done everyone

Anton Grashion 87 days ago

Astonishing! Highlight of the Fringe for me this year. Visually stunning and my admiration for their creativity, timing and storytelling couldn’t be higher. The music was beautifully crafted. I treat for the eyes and ears.

Amy Strike 88 days ago

This was the best thing I have seen at the fringe in a very long time. Beautifully put together, great storytelling, visually stunning.

Brendan Halpin 89 days ago

Stunning. An amazing technical achievement that also connects on an emotional level. Unlike anything else you'll see on stage at the Fringe or anywhere else. Get in and see this remarkable production.

Ann Rhodes 89 days ago

This show is astonishing, really different from anything I've seen before and spellbinding to watch.

Bridget Elam 89 days ago

I honestly cannot understand why this show isn't completely sold out every day. I saw it Wednesday and was blown away. I was initially impressed with the cleverness and precision of the storytelling and then moved to tears multiple times by the beauty of the story. It DESTROYED me. I've been telling everyone I meet about it. GO SEE THIS SHOW!

Anna 90 days ago

Thank God I saw this show during my trip to the fringe. This show really made my time at the festival. The production is fantastic, all details are so thought through and look incredibly elaborate. I loved every moment of it.

Lena Forst 94 days ago

Mind-blowing. That's the only word I could think after watching manual Cinema's Frankenstein for the first time. After watching it again a few days later, I can say that it even gets better upon the second viewing!! The way this story is told to the audience is absolutely breathtaking and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I can't find the right words to express how deeply I was moved by the emotions created by shadows and puppets! What a rare and unique experience!! Last but not least, I think the story gained a lot emotional power in your retelling and interweaving it with Mary Shelley's autobiographical experiences. Thank you for creating this awesome show! I wish I could see it a third time!

Ben Saunders 95 days ago

Manual Cinema, with exquisite care and surgical skill have dissected eight mediums, plucking a haunted first person stare from silent acting, delicate intricate silhouettes from projection and perfect manipulation from puppetry and stitched them together to produce something that is so much greater than all the parts.

Behind the soft orange glow of dim filament lights and the comforting warm sepia backgrounds of the projection screen sits the pitch black darkness that lurks within us all, deftly switched between by the unautomated fingers of the protectionist-cum-actors-cum-videographers.

Out of the blackness comes a performance that is as rich as it is disturbing, as varied as it is beautifully timed. Silent figures are given voices through live instrumentals, song and foley which never drowns out the quality of wordless performance. The investigation of Shelley's motivations behind her work blend without a tremor into the story they created, the shadows on the screen paradoxically shining light on the very fundamentals of social understanding. As the creation lumbers from kindness to fear to violence, shame and sorrow so do we, guided by a cast whose every movement betrays meticulous, almost inhuman, co-ordination.

There are times when it is difficult to tell human from puppet from shadow from automation as they quest to move from animated bodies to free souls, bought together and yet entirely separated by a simple screen. It would be unfair, indeed impossible, to pick out individual moments or cast from this production. If a show could exist on the pinnacle of a lightning rod, screaming raw and honest into the storm, then this is that show.

Kate Gaul 96 days ago

Love, loss and creation merge in unexpected ways in this thrilling gothic tale conceived by Manual Cinema. Victor Frankenstein, Mary Shelley and her Monster expose how the forces of family, community and education shape personhood, or destroy it by their absence. Please can someone bring this magnificent theatrical treat to Australia – it’s a huge show with a huge heart. Live music, shadow puppets, cinema – so many elements. RUN DO NOT WALK to see this. 5 Remnants of Cheese

Mike Bell 98 days ago

Amazing! Truly an outstanding performance! MUST SEE!
As an audience member you are treated to an immersive cinematic experience of Frankenstein, you watch as the live team creates a seamless cinematic film before your very eyes. The team ranges from projectors, shadow puppetry, actors, puppets, a live sound track from a variety of musicians and unique camera work. To me this is a master class of theatrical team work that truly represents the Fringe.

Dagmara K 99 days ago

A stunning production. Every aspect - the puppetry, the shadow puppetry with puppets, the shadow puppetry with actors, the acting, the music, the sound effects - works together seamlessly and is brilliantly executed. Just beautiful and incredible to watch from beginning to end.

Stuart, Edinburgh. 100 days ago

What a great show! Ingenious, talented and thoroughly engaging. My only regret is that I didn't have enough pairs of eyes to see the film - and the making of the film. Had to make do with flitting between the two. Go see, it's brilliant *****

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

The List (3/5 stars) 79 days ago

Beautiful yet shallow cinematic theatre...

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UK Theatre Web (4/5 stars) 81 days ago

[A] masterful piece of shadow theatre - on screen[...] there is some amazing choreography and timing required to get this anywhere near right - and they were spot on.

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British Theatre Guide (5/5 stars) 82 days ago

By this stage in Edinburgh's Festival Fringe, certain productions have invariably risen to the top of the ratings lists, their every poster adorned with starry ribbons of paper, proclaiming genius and many complimentary words. Often those words are hyperbolic, but in that rarest of cases, Manual Cinema's Frankenstein is most...

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ThreeWeeks (4/5 stars) 83 days ago

I wasn’t sure where to look during this impressive, technically complex performance. A combination of live performance, puppetry and shadow-puppets (innovatively projected through upcycled OHPs) is used to present the tale of Frankenstein, with a prologue and coda featuring Mary Shelley, as a pseudo-silent movie. Just as with live radio...

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Southside Advertiser (5/5 stars) 86 days ago of those Fringe performances that you look for as a reviewer every year, but rarely find – something different from anything else out there, something truly unique.

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FringeReview 87 days ago

Manual Cinema were last seen in Edinburgh at the 2016 Fringe with Ada/Ava which also combined shadow puppetry with live actors to tell a moving tale. However, Frankenstein takes their signature style to a whole new level. Although adding more complicated techniques to an already elaborate form of theatre could...

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A Younger Theatre (4/5 stars) 92 days ago

The vast stage of the McEwan Hall is brimming with possibility. Home to Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein, multiple projectors and screens rub shoulders with bespoke musical instruments. Flower pots, steel pans and pipes overlook an orchestra pit, where a live band of four stretch across percussion, strings and woodwind. In the...

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Fest (4/5 stars) 93 days ago

There's a technical perfection to Manual Cinema’s production of Frankenstein. An entire movie is constructed before your eyes thanks to a seamless combination of shadow play, puppetry and silent actors choreographed against rear projections. It’s self-evidently impressive and even the occasional mistake (a prop brought on backwards or a transition...

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The Scotsman (4/5 stars) 94 days ago

When it comes to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, cinema has a lot to answer for. ...

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Everything Theatre (4/5 stars) 94 days ago

After critically acclaimed runs with ADA/AVA and Lula del Ray, Chicago-born ensemble Manual Cinema returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a captivating rendition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

With their unmistakable style and inventive use of media, the company seeks to shed their light primarily on the author’s private life and the events that contributed to the shaping of the novel that, 200 years after its first publication, remains just as popular.

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Radio Summerhall 95 days ago

Those architects of wonder Manual Cinema are back in the Burgh to project their very distinctive take on the modern Prometheus. And what can I say apart from it’s a joy to behold and is their best work to date!

Believe me I’m not remotely besmirching their previous output, but this time they have pushed the boundaries of what they can do, a bit like the titular antihero. Previously the team has created an experience that is not unlike an enhanced version of shadow puppetry, but even that’s putting it mildly. But this time we also have aspects of live filming and bunraku puppetry which also help to enhance this mix. But although there are many marvels to behold here, at its core is a very deep and beating heart.

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Edinburgh Festivals Magazine (5/5 stars) 99 days ago

An eclectic collection of instruments, a line of projectors and a cast dressed in nineteenth-century attire awaits on stage beneath a projector screen looming over the audience, shrouded in fog. The moment you...

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The Wee Review (3/5 stars) 100 days ago

Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein has been adapted into a variety of different media countless times. Manual Cinema are taking an innovative and different approach by using puppetry, live animation and video projections to infuse life into a very familiar and iconic story. The set up of the performance initially...

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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.