Review by: Paul Towers, 21 February 2018
Young Frankenstein by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan
The Garrick Theatre, London - ongoing
“dark, tasteless humour.”
Mel Brooks’ is one of those marmite producer/writer/actors. You either get his humour or you don’t. I love it! He is the master of tasteless jokes, excruciating puns and belly laughing humour. Not only does he write screen plays but he also does all the music and lyrics as well.
Young Frankenstein is a very typical masterpiece of Brooks’ particular bad taste humour. This a tale of Baron Viktor Frankenstein’s young grandson who travels to Transylvania to wind up the estate of his dead grandfather. Frederick is determined to distance himself from his monstrous relative’s work but, inevitably, he is dragged into recreating the experiments using his grandfather’s notebooks.
If you have seen the original 1974 film then you will not be disappointed with this musical stage production. Every single one of the gags from the movie are there along with showgirls, dancing and extra gags.
Hadley Fraser in the title role does a fine job of channelling Gene Wilder, the originator of the role on film. Leslie Joseph as Frau Blucher (horse neighs offstage!) has great fun as the sinister housekeeper, bounding around the stage belying her 72 years. Cory English took over from Ross Noble as Igor for this performance, a worthy successor to Marty Feldman in the film.
If you like dark, tasteless humour then get yourself down to The Garrick Theatre in London’s West End as this show continues to pack in audiences.
I had a terrible journey down into London and arrived about 10 minutes after curtain up but the staff were incredibly helpful and smuggled me into the auditorium at the end of the opening number. I have to say that the Garrick is not one of my favourite theatres. The décor is very much institutional beige with vast bare walls just begging for posters from past productions. In the stalls there are loads of columns holding up the gallery restricting the view from many seats towards the back. Add to that the unfortunate regular rumble of tube trains every 10 minutes. While this isn’t much of a distraction in a comedy it would be very off-putting in a serious play. On the plus side the Garrick has very good leg room in the stalls, especially useful for me at 6’5”!