Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein
Garrick Theatre, London
Seen on November 15th, 2017
Reviewed by Jade Prince
It’s safe to say that this show was not my cup of tea but I can see how people could enjoy it. It really didn’t wow me at any point which has surprised me because everyone I’ve spoken to has enjoyed the show. There were a few bits I liked but the majority was disappointing.
This comedy musical tells the classic Frankenstein story which is based on the popular 1974 movie. It is clear to see that this show pokes fun at itself and the typical horror films from the 30’s however I’d don’t think it was carried out successfully. Some shows are very good at making fun of themselves, this one just didn’t cut it. As well as the parody aspect you could see that it was attempting to be bad to fit in with this horror genre but once again there is trying to be bad and then just plain being bad!
The script was filled with jokes which the rest of the audience loved! Everyone pretty much laughed through the entire show but I personally think the type of comedy isn’t for everyone. The type of jokes they used heavily relied on innuendos and a lot of them were straight up crude. This can be great if done well just look at shows like Book of Mormon and Avenue Q. I much prefer more creative jokes with meaning as a pose to generic ones thrown in for now real reason. I have to admit one joke did make me laugh during the first act, Frederick Frankenstein referring to ‘one part of him’ pointing in that direction. That was probably the only time I laughed. All of the jokes became very repetitive. There are only so many exaggerated delays for ‘comical’ reasons you can take within one 2 hour 20 minute show. It held on to every element much longer than it needed to! For example the jokes, playing with words and their different meanings and bringing the fourth wall down to the audience.
The cast themselves were great and worked well with what they had. The timings between the jokes and reactions were fab! Very quick but natural looking. You could see there was chemistry between the cast. The acting itself would be great in a silent film! The stand-out performer was Ross Noble (Igor). He was brilliant at holding that character throughout the whole show. The mannerisms were on point.
The set was kept very basic which was in keeping with the 1930’s horror film genre with a couple of larger props moved onto the stage for certain scenes. I really enjoyed the horse and cart scene. The movement of the cart was really good and it was nice to see the attention to detail with the horse costumes. You could see a lot of choreography had gone into that to make all the movements as realistic as possible. When looking at the set on a whole, you can see that the majority of the budget went on pyrotechnics!
Overall, it’s an okay show. I really don’t rave about it, as you can see but I can understand why some people would enjoy it. If you like the ‘slap-stick’ comedy and parody shows then I would recommend this to you. If you like traditional musical theatre, then save your money.
Young Frankenstein is at the Garrick theatre and playing until February 10th, 2018. For more information and tickets visit: https://youngfrankenstein.co.uk/