Young Frankenstein at Garrick Theatre
When a stage adaptation of a Mel Brooks film receives the blessing of the legend himself, there is little doubt that it will be a big hit. After the enormous success of The Producers, it is now Brooks’s horror film spoof Young Frankenstein receiving a theatrical makeover. The original was perfectly suited for a cinematic lens, but the story has survived the shift to the stage surprisingly well. Retaining most of the infamous gags from the 1974 movie, the show’s mission is to keep the laughter going, and it achieves this easily and effortlessly.
Frederick Frankenstein (Hadley Fraser) is a brain specialist and grandson of the famous Victor. Upon his grandfather’s death, he travels to Transylvania to claim the castle he has inherited. He is eager to make it known that he has no interest in the controversial scientific experiments associated with his surname. After he meets Igor (Ross Noble), however, who becomes his trusted companion, he makes a discovery that sparks his imagination and, before long, a human-like creature is coming to life.
Packed with double entendres and larger-than-life jokes, Young Frankenstein is an unrestrained triumph of comic genius. While all the lead actors have the potential to steal the show, the comedy is so balanced that they all get to shine at once. Comparisons with the original cast would be unfair, and since the stage involves different dynamics and requirements, they would also be redundant. The cast have embraced their characters with glee, applying their personal interpretation while still honouring the famed originals.
This production proves that old-fashioned comedy has a lasting power and is forever effective, provided it is performed skilfully. What seems dated is its vision of women as secondary and superficial characters, solely driven by their relationships to men. Unfortunately, this is a feature that is emphasised rather than downplayed. Aside from this, from a comic perspective Young Frankenstein is flawless. Dynamic and uproariously jolly, the show is yet another gift of pure entertainment from Mel Brooks, and it deserves all the accolades that the theatre scene has to offer.
Photos: Manuel Harlan
Young Frankenstein is at Garrick Theatre from 28th September 2017 until 10th February 2018. Book your tickets here.
Watch the trailer for Young Frankenstein here: