Young Frankenstein musical displays genius skills of Mel Brooks – review

Manuel Harlan

There’s few people in the world that haven’t heard of this tale. It’s true that it will forever be a comedic classic that’s played more than once every frightful October season. However, there’s is something rather fresh and exciting about its later incarnation.

Now with added musical numbers. Young Frankenstein makes its West End debut in a musical that’s guaranteed to have you bursting with laughter from curtain up to curtain call. It is, quite simply, hilarious. And yes, it’s all thanks to one man’s genius eye.

Mel Brooks’ comedic charm and thrilling punchy one-liners could warm even the coldest of hearts. He and Thomas Meehan’s adaptation for the stage fits so wonderfully that you’re almost forgiven in thinking this is where it was always meant to be.

Not the only shining light, the skill and vocal ability of this cast, lead here by the dashing Hadley Fraser, makes it all that extra bit special. Call it the perfectly sculpted characterisations or the vocal gymnastics that follow in quick concession. To be honest, we lost count of how many times we wanted to take note of a specific time or place for reference here; such is the greatness throughout.

Related: Dan Gillespie Sells on blurring queer lines with his new West End musical

Susan Claman’s production is directed tightly from the spooky overture to bouncing travelling scene and beyond. Summer Strallen lands successfully as the rather beautiful (both vocally and in character) squeaky and cheeky Inga, while Lesley Joseph’s Frau Blücher allows the beloved actress to whip up a storm in acting through song.

Alongside Ross Noble as Igor and the marvellous Dianne Pilkington as pushy soon-to-be wife Elizabeth, there’s more than enough to send you off into the night post show with one heck of a grin. Oh… not forgetting Shuler Hensley as our loveable green giant, The Monster.

Sadly, Young Frankenstein won’t appeal to all – especially those that aren’t in tune with Mel’s work or comedic flare. But that’s their problem, not ours, and hopefully a night here will display all his rich comedy class in the most ideal of ways.

Don’t let the added musical title put you off – there’s great wonder that come with it. Think of it as new Mel mixed with all the bits you know you already loved.

Gay Times gives Young Frankenstein – 4/5

More information can be found here

Encore radio – Songs from your favourite musicals



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