Young Frankenstein at the Garrick Theatre
This musical adaptation of Mel Brooks’s 1974 horror-comedy film is a laugh-out-loud, innuendo-laden experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Its strong central performances, innate rudeness and ability to self-satirise allow it to become something more than the cringe-worthy corn-fest that one might expect.
Frederic Frankenstein – played by Hadley Fraser in a rather nifty performance – is the grandson of Mary Shelley’s Dr Frankenstein, who created a monster out of dead body parts which eventually killed many people. The academic is lecturing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore when he receives news that his grandfather has died and that he must travel to Transylvania to settle his estate.
There he meets Igor (Cory English), a hunch-backed Transylvanian with a cockney accent; Inga (Summer Strallen), a buxom, blonde, German milkmaid type with long legs; and the shrewish housekeeper, Frau Blücher.
Due to the indisposition of Lesley Joseph (of Birds of a Feather fame), Frau Blücher was played by understudy Kelly Ewins-Prouse, who couldn’t really meet the demands of this central comic performance. She did her best, but her fluctuating accent and obvious youth meant that the actress never seemed wholly comfortable.
Frederic is eventually convinced to continue his grandfather’s work and enlists the help of his three accomplices to help him piece together a new monster.
Fraser, English and Strallen make a formidable team. Despite differing gaits, personas and sizes, all move in nimble synchronicity and their voices blend with ease and clarity.
A special mention must also go to Dianne Pilkington as Elizabeth, Frederic’s rich and ditsy fiancée. She admittedly owes a lot to Will & Grace’s Megan Mullally, who originated the role on Broadway. But the actress’s enthrallingly funny rendition of the penultimate number Deep Love was probably the highlight of the whole performance.
This isn’t like most musical comedies. It’s sexy yet grotesque; it’s off-the-wall but predictable. However, the fact that everyone on stage knows this all to well and exploits it to great comic effect allows the show to be a success – that and a host of rousing musical numbers. Of course, Young Frankenstein isn’t high art, but it’s oodles of fun.
Young Frankenstein is at the Garrick Theatre until 25th August 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Young Frankenstein here: