Review: Young Frankenstein Puts on the Ritz at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle
The musical adaptation of Mel Brooks’ classic film Young Frankenstein has been delighting auidences in the North East before it moves to London’s West End and it’s safe to say it has been a hit! Keeping the key elements and jokes that featured in the film while injecting new, original songs into it, plus the stellar, all-star cast, make it a light-hearted musical that you will not stop laughing at.
The narrative follows Dr Frederick Frankenstein (Hadley Fraser), the grandson of the original Dr Frankenstein from the Mary Shelley novel, as he travels to Transylvania to settle his recently deceased grandfather’s estate. However once there he becomes obsessed with carrying on his grandfather’s work, despite spending his whole life trying to distance himself from his family name. Along with his assistant Igor (played by North East comedian Ross Noble), beautiful lab assistant Inga (Summer Strallen) and house-keeper Frau Blucher (Lesley Joseph) they set about creating their own monster (played by Shuler Hensley).
The music and songs are the things that really stand out in this production. They fit in so well with the hilarity and over-all quirkiness of the plot that you can’t help but laugh all the way through. The lyrics contain as many gags and jokes as the diolauge in the show and each song suits the moment perfectly. Stand out songs include Please Don’t Touch Me, sung by Frankenstein’s fiancée Elizabeth Benning (played by the beautiful Dianne Pilkington) and He Vas My Boyfriend, sung by Frau Blucher. Of course the song and moment everyone waits for is the iconic Puttin’ On The Ritz number and it does not disappoint. The whole song and dance routine is stunning and reminiscent of the old vaudeville acts of the 1930s and 1940s.
The two characters that were cast perfectly were Frau Blucher and Igor. Lesley Joseph and Ross Noble have perfect comedic timing as their respective characters, its hard to imagine anyone else playing those roles. Their facial expressions, the accents they give the characters, all the way down to the way they move as Far Blucher and Igor, shows just what amazing performers these two are. The cast as a whole are amazing. Hadley Frazer, who plays Dr Frankenstein, is great at the way he interacts with every single character on stage and manages to capture the essence of Dr Frankenstein. Gene Wilder would be proud.
The show has received great reviews in Newcastle and will soon be making a new home in London. Hopefully it can continue the success it’s had up here, if you have the opportunity to go down to London to see it when it opens you should. You’ll be left with an aching jaw from smiling and laughing but you’ll also be leaving the theatre feeling happy and uplifted, as well as humming Puttin’ On The Ritz for the next few days!