WORTH A LOOK?: ***
WHERE: Garrick Theatre
WHEN: 30/9, press night 10/10, booking to 10/2/18
Creating a smash hit musical from a successful film is something which author Mel Brooks has much experience of.
- Read on for reasons including why Bonnie Langford was in the audience for this third preview
Brooks’ The Producers was a 1967 film which spawned a 2001 musical that won 12 Tonys and was remade into a 2005 film.
However, 1974 film Young Frankenstein is far less suited to such a re-animation and opened on Broadway in 2007 to mixed reviews. This new version has been rewritten by Brooks and curtailed.
Fans of the film will be familiar with the re-imagining of the Mary Shelley classic, which sees Frederick Frankenstein (Hadley Fraser), an esteemed New York brain surgeon and professor, inherit a castle and laboratory in Transylvania from his deranged genius grandfather, Victor Von Frankenstein.
Fraser was a little bland for us and the real joy of the show is found in Ross Noble’s madcap manservant Igor and Lesley Joseph’s tortured housekeeper Frau Blucher.
We spotted Bonnie Langford in the audience and assume she’s here to support niece Summer Strallen who has much fun with the part of the sexy lab assistant Inga.
We particularly enjoyed Joseph’s number He Vas My Boyfriend and the monster’s version of Puttin’ On The Ritz is still as genius as it was in the film. Indeed from our seat at this third preview it’s clear that the audience consists of many die-hard fans of the film.
We were big fans of The Producers and the way it was unafraid to use the film as a springboard to an enhanced musical. Perhaps this horror film parody just doesn’t have the capacity to transfer so easily although the success of the similarly-themed The Rocky Horror Show (first seen in theatre) would indicate otherwise.
Such a comparison is always difficult because this version of Young Frankenstein is nowhere near as funny and sexy as that classic. One for the die-hards only perhaps.