THE key to this stark yet slick touring production lies in the title ... Frankenstein was Mary Shelley's creation.

Her baby. Her monster.

A creature conjured up from her own ahead-of-its-time, vivid imagination.

The visionary author wrote this horror tale when she was only 18 and even this intelligent trail-blazer could not have known how it would still be revered and interpreted in so many ways more than 100 years on from its publication.

It was, arguably, the first sci-fi novel and Hollywood certainly plugged into its appeal while destroying the purity of the Gothic novel.

TV adaptations have also recreated it.

This adaptation, from writer Rona Munro and director Patricia Benecke, grabs the audience's attention the moment they enter the theatre.

Be prepared to be surprised and unsettled.

A two-tier set, in chilling clinical white, features alcoves and balconies which allow the seven- strong cast to make some impressive entrances and exits.

Mary is our narrator who is also part of the action like a pen-wielding ghost on the stage weaving in and out of scenes from writing desk to scaling ladders.

She is trying to keep pace with her own thoughts as her nightmare about her man- made supernatural figure emerges.

Actress Eilidh Loan clearly relishes the role of Mary.

She is no stranger to playing feisty women, having given acclaimed TV portrayals of Lady Jane Grey and Lady Macbeth.

Here she stamps her own personality on the complex Mary.

Eilidh is a name to look out for.

It is an all round clever production that at various times seems like watching two plays on the same stage - both equally demanding.

Yet this is one complete well-paced drama that has many visual strengths in its unusual form of storytelling.

We listen as Mary reveals that what started out as a party game - a dare led to a journey that took her by surprise.

We see Dr Frankenstein (Ben Castle Gibb in his professional debut) struggle with love and sanity while The Monster (Michael Moreland) is sometimes more human than he initially appears.

Becky Minto's set certainly creates the right atmosphere and there's enough dry ice to shame a Hammer Horror film.

Lighting is exceptional throughout.

Like Bram Stoker's Dracula there is always scope to interpret Frankenstein in different ways.

This version has something to say about the abuse of power and the abuse of love

It all takes place in two hours with an interval.

This production is a highly original take on a classic.

A bold artistic achievement from a versatile cast and crew.

A Novel re-working

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is at Liverpool Playhouse until Saturday.

Tickets from 0151 709 4776 or