For parents seeking an alternative to the special effects wizardry of mainstream Halloween entertainment, check out this theatrical production of Frankenstein from Globalstage Productions. This new children's entertainment distributor was founded by a stock trader frustrated with what she considered to be a lack of quality fare for her own son. The play is performed by Stage One, one of the finest children's theaters in the United States, and filmed by the BBC.

Based on Mary Shelly's famous novel, Frankenstein follows scientist Victor Frankenstein's mission to discover the secret of eternal life. Blinded by his ambition, Dr. Frankenstein instead "gives birth" to a monster, and then must deal with the tragic consequences. Well-written and performed, the play is accompanied by a detailed study guide, and is preceded, as are all Globalstage productions, by an elaborate video introduction wherein public broadcasting personality Professor Elizabeth McNamer provides background on Mary Shelley, and comments on such key themes as: Are scientists responsible for their creations? Would living forever be a good thing? Can something ugly and monstrous like Frankenstein's creation also contain good within?

If the production sounds a bit heady for a kid-sized attention span, take a cue from my seven-year-old who fidgeted a bit, but stayed with it to the end. He even said that he "really liked the old lady" and the pre- and post-play commentary! Given his most-valuable endorsement, I feel confident recommending Frankenstein as an intelligent and entertaining addition to your child's library of video picks this witching season.

Best for ages: Ages 9-12, with some spillover on either side.

Language: No problem.

Violence: None.

Fun factor: Low, although the story is timeless, it's not exactly "fun."

Fear factor: Low although there are numerous deaths, including that of a young boy, the context renders them less scary.

Fidget factor: Medium.

Replay value: High.

Lessons Learned: Playing God can have unexpectedand tragicconsequences.

Reviewed by Rory O'Connor.