EDINBURGH FRINGE: Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster at the Traverse Theatre EH1 2ED (1 hr 20 mins) *****
Yet again the Traverse Theatre is breaking new boundaries with innovative entertainment.

The story of Frankenstein’s monster has been around 200 years but, never in her wildest dreams (and she certainly must have had some!) could Mary Shelley have imagined her story being presented in this way.

There is certainly nothing monstrous about this mid-blowing production – except perhaps for the monstrous amount of talent on stage.

Battersea Arts Centre’s Beatbox Academy is a young collective which has performed at the Royal Festival Hall, Latitude Festival and on BBC 2’s Gareth Malone’s The Choir. Now they are making their Scottish debut at the Fringe with a show which is nothing sort of extraordinary, a celebration of the voice in so many guises, from remarkable tongue-twisting vocal gymnastics and soundscapes to singing and rap.

Through a series of chapters they breathe life into the monster – by just breathing, rapping Shelley’s story in language for today. The effects they create with their mouths and microphones are unbelievable. But there is also some beautiful music (Pachelbel Canon is in there!), and superlative singing from Aminita Francis and Nadine Rose Johnson, better known as Glitch, plus some sharp choreography. ABH Beatbox’s vocals are particularly incredible, and sound engineer Marcello Coppola must be congratulated for helping to deliver such a slick show.

There is more. It begins with co-director Conrad Murray teaching the audience to beatbox – kick drum, snare and hi-hat. He has results in no time at all! There’s also a special appearance by the YLT Crew from Leith, four of 300 local youngsters the BAC Beatbox Academy has been working with.

Of course, as with most things these days, the show has a message, such as when ego drives the body it’s bound to crash!

This is a relaxed show, not that anyone would want to come and go or move about, and photos and videos are encouraged. Advertised for 14 years and over, one tiny tot was present when I was there, and in a quiet moment (and there weren’t many. Ear defenders are available, by the way!) he or she shouted 'Wow!' to everyone’s amusement. It certainly has lots of wow moments and deserved it's standing ovation.

Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster is at the Traverse Theatre until Aug 25 at various times. Tickets £22 with concessions.
Box Office: 0131 228 1404/traverse.co.uk
image: Lara Cappelli