Young Frankenstein

 

Photo: Charles Young

In our house, our mantra is that equality and team work is the key to a successful partnership, and even though I say so myself, we do make a pretty good team (bearing in mind I am the senior partner according to my husband!)

So with our next London weekend fast approaching, I asked my husband to select our next West End show as it was his turn to choose. When he said Young Frankenstein at The Garrick theatre I thought OK MT, you can get through this. (Memo to self, must review his right to choose). I am not a fan of Mel Brooks.

Young Frankenstein by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan is based on the 1974 film of the same name and is a musical comedy parody of the old-style Frankenstein horror movies.

When Young Frankenstein opened on Broadway in 2007 it received mixed reviews and closed after 500 performances. Reviews of the London production have been positive, hailing Young Frankenstein to be “the funniest musical currently available in the West End.”

So with this in mind, I entered the theatre with, an “OK make me laugh attitude”.

Susan Stroman’s direction and chorography creates Mel Brooks’ wacky world of Transylvania in a manner that is comedic but not cheesy. The dance routines were slick and sharp, the dancers interacted well with each other and the audience. In costumes designed by William Ivy long, they produced a rainbow of colour and energy that was visually captivating.

Summer Strallen (Inga) lit up the stage with her dynamic, enthusiastic dance routines.

Beowulf Borrit has designed a set that transports the viewer from a New York lecture room to the familiar laboratory so associated with the Frankenstein movies. Ben Cracknell’s use of strobe lighting was very effective in creating the customary lightning bolts that traditionally accompany any production of Frankenstein.

The original song lyrics of this production are witty and are preformed very skilfully by all the cast, who create the sound the audience expects to hear in a musical production.

Cory English gave a fabulous comedic performance as Igor, who also has a very good singing voice, which added to the richness of his performance.

The chemistry between English and Hadley Fraser as Frankenstein, created for me the musical highlight of the show “Together Again”.  In this toe tapping number, performed in a way that transported the viewer back to the days of the Music Hall; the singing ability and comedy timing of English and Fraser created musical theatre magic.

Lesley Joseph gives a strong performance as Frau Blucher and deserves her Olivier nomination for best supporting actress in a musical.

In my favourite scene of the show, the escaped monster (Nic Greenshields) stumbled across the home of a blind hermit (Patrick Clancy). This was one of those rare laugh out loud moments during a production, as I along with most of the audience was in fits of uncontrollable laughter.

Whilst I enjoyed the outstanding comedic performances as described above, I found Mel Brooks’ sexist references disguised as humour uncomfortable at times.

If you are a fan of Mel Brooks and enjoy musical comedy I would recommend this production as a fun night out.

Young Frankenstein is currently running at the Garrick theatre with booking available until 29th September 2018.

Theatretastic rating 4/5:

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We say: “A fourtastic rating for a laugh out loud comedic experience.”

MT

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