Review: Young Frankenstein

2 star rating
Fantastically talented cast and musicians, and wonderfully OTT sets - seems like fantastic fun until the penny drops about how oppressive a lot of the stereotypes and jokes in it are...
Young Frankenstein at the Garrick Theatre

Image: Garrick Theatre



Closes here: Saturday 25 August 2018

Author:
Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan

Composer:
Mel Brooks

Lyricist:
Mel Brooks

Director:
Susan Stroman

Cast:

Hadley Fraser - Frederick Frankenstein

Lesley Joseph - Frau Blücher

Ross Noble - Igor

Dianne Pilkington - Elizabeth

Summer Strallen - Inga

Patrick Clancy - Inspector Kemp

Shuler Hensley - The Monster

Imogen Brooke - Ensemble

Matt Crandon - Swing

Bethan Downing - Swing

Nathan Elwick - Ensemble

Kelly Ewins-Prouse - Swing & Dance Captain

Andrew Gordon-watkins - Ensemble

Sammy Kelly - Ensemble

Perry O'dea - Ensemble

Richard Pitt - Ensemble & Associate Choreographer

Harriet Samuel-Gray - Ensemble

Gemma Scholes - Ensemble

Emily Squibb - Swing

Matthew Whennell-Clark - Swing

Aron Wild - Swing

Josh Wilmott - Ensemble


Synopsis


Grandson of the infamous Victor Frankenstein, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced 'Fronk-en-steen’) inherits a castle in Transylvania leading him to fulfill his grandfather's legacy by bringing a corpse back to life.


With help and hindrance from hunchback henchman Igor, buxom assistant Inga and needy fiancée Elizabeth, his experiment yields madcap success and monstrous consequences.


Background


Legendary filmmaker and comedian Mel Brooks brings his classic monster musical comedy Young Frankenstein to life on stage in an all-singing, all-dancing musical collaboration with Tony-award winning Broadway director and choreographer Susan Stroman.

Trailer



ActDrop reviews


HR Tristram

Performance date: Saturday 13 January 2018
Review star rating image for 3 stars

I love the songs in Young Frankenstein.


This stage show was exquisitely performed - fantastically talented cast and musicians, and wonderfully OTT sets.


However seeing the songs in context, it became apparent that this show has some very outdated and offensive material in it, which should be given proper commentary on given that it is being performed in today's modern climate.


For example, all the female characters are very sexualised, with no other depth to them or importance to the story.


One is there purely as a 'bimbo' stereotype, one has a whole song about being fine with domestic violence from her boyfriend, one is only there as chasing rich/well endowed men ...


This is no fault of the actors (who were impressively talented) - it is in the writing of the show itself.


There are jokes about "ab-normal brains" too, and it's all taken as funny and fine.


Which it isn't.


There is lots of great over the top, bawdy, crude silliness in the show, and some fantastic dances, songs and physical humour.


The show seems like fantastic fun until the penny drops about how oppressive a lot of the stereotypes and jokes in it are.


I think all the performers and crew did a brilliant job of recreating this epic musical, and they even threw in a few up-to-date jokes too.


What they didn't do, was throw in any up-to-date commentary about what people are seeing in this show.


Musical theatre doesn't have to sexualise and belittle people to be amazing or funny.


And it shouldn't.


Let's hope all the wonderful technical skill and energy put into shows like this can be put into bringing more respectful thought and consideration into the next generation of West End and Broadway Musicals.


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