Title: Young Frankenstein
Cast: Hadley Fraser, Corey English, Summer Strallen, Nic Greenshields
Seen on: August 04, 2018
I have to admit I don’t really know much of and about Mel Brooks. I know he is considered a legend in the musical theatre industry and so I was intrigued to see his work. And as always I wanted to see it because my favourite West End performer is in it; Hadley Fraser.
I was not disappointed. I now understand Mel Brooks’ appeal – Young Frankenstein was funny, naughty, smart, sweet, and more than a little camp. Everything musical theatre comedy should be. How many nods to sex and penises can you make? Plenty it seems!
But it never becomes sloppy or childish; the humour is grown-up, adult – which the parents in the row in front of me who had brought their small children were not prepared for! The writing is fast-paced, witty, quick, sharp, and highly entertaining. Add to that the wonderful songs and a phenomenal cast that really throw themselves into the comedy, and the show never loses pace and entertainment.
The sets were beautifully done with 3d projections providing more staging than could be achieved on a stage. And even those sets and props are made fun of every now and then by the characters; “every low-cost horror movie has a scene with a village mob with pitch forks coming after the monster”, or “every horribly cheap horror movie has a leaver near the book case to open the creepy hidden room”.
With three levels of on-stage sets and the projections, the stage looks much larger than it is, and full of beautiful designs and props and lighting. The sound effects are cleverly done and add to the slight comic-tone that is set. Igor’s hump is the audience favourite; does he have it on the left or on the right…?
The show is an ensemble cast with a few outstanding characters; the creature is wonderfully dumb with a much earned and welcomed development at the end. Igor is equal parts funny and weird and while usually the comic relief to the doctor, he also has some very lovely sweet moment that humanise him. Frau Blucher and Inga don’t get much of a character development but they don’t need it; they are wonderful characters as they are and they are wonderfully played by Lesley Joseph and Summer Strallen. My favourite character development is possibly that of Elizabeth, Frankenstein’s fiancee ho goes from ditsy rich girl to ditsy Frankenstein’s Bride, wig included.
Young Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein’s grandson, is magnificently played by Hadley Fraser. I’m afraid I have to gush about him again, sorry! Apart from his incredible voice, he dances, he has the audience wrapped around his finger, his comedic timing is excellent, and he charms the pants off of everyone in the room.
He never misses a beat, not even when faced with unexpected responses by both his cast mates and the audience, and he looks like he is having the best time of his life. With that role and that musical, I would too!