YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (musical)
CONTAINS STROBE, HAZE, SMOKE AND PYROTECHNIC EFFECTS.
A New York brain surgeon inherits a laboratory and its contents... in
Transylvania... will the spooky experiments continue... will his lab
assistant fall for him...
Mel Brooks comedy musical, starring Hadley Fraser, Ross Noble and Summer
(Seen at the afternoon performance on 14th October 2017).
Adult panto has come early to the West End, with the latest from Mel Brooks.
Billed as a "comedy musical," the comedy is very broad indeed - and
freeway-billboard sized flagged to boot. it's also Mel Brooks comedy - do the
joke, then keep doing it because it is "funny." Unless, like the monkey, you get
the gag first time and thereafter are simply screaming "please, get on with it."
The door and "big" dance numbers being but two examples.
reviewer also took a fair amount of flack for "calling out" on the extremely
dated view of young women - epitomised by the "sexpot" treatment of always
glamorous and reliable Summer Strallen (Inga), the lab assistant. The monkey
found itself in agreement. Had the show been written years ago, it might have
passed - and Brooks humour comes from that period. Given that this musical dates
only from 2007 and has been revised since... well, there's a certain point and
choreographer Stroman perhaps has something to answer for with "Roll In The Hay"
Gripes aside, Hadley Fraser is fine as Dr Frankenstein, an
American inheriting a Transylvanian (isn't that Dracula, though?) castle and
it's crew. Ross Noble (Igor) is a true revelation. With a script and character,
he does even better than his own improvised ramblings. Matching him, Lesley
Joseph (Frau Blucher) brings her panto skills to the fore, and even if lumbered
with mysogenistic "He Vas My Boyfriend" gets the maximum from the song.
too for Shuler Hensley (The Monster), whose final transformation is mildly
amusing, and Patrick Clancy for the duel roles of Inspector Kemp and the Hermit
- just one more fairly painful scene.
There's little interesting plot
development, fewer colourful or memorable songs - and the main Act Two dance
number isn't half as amusing as it thinks (though energetically done by the
ensemble). Songs are generally memorable for the wrong reasons, though the odd
amusing lyric creeps in.
Simply, nowhere near as inventive or tongue-in-cheek
as "The Producers," but judging by some of the laughter, it hits the spot with
the firmest Brooks fans. Not one for the monkey in its particular frame-of-mind
that day, perhaps, but it recognises a professionally put together show and
particularly fine cast. Four stars generally, three personally, is its