Burton's Little Theatre Company bring Transylvania mania to the Brewhouse in a slick production of Mel Brooks' joyfully silly musical Young Frankenstein, directed by John Bowness.
Based on the 1974 comedy film of the same name, Young Frankenstein is based on a delightfully daft premise: the grandson of the infamous corpse-animating Victor inherits his family’s estate after his grandfather’s death and returns to Transylvania to claim his birth right. The writing brilliantly parodies 1930s Hollywood horror films whilst at the same time creating a host of hilarious and memorable characters and songs.
Frederick Frankenstein, an eminent university neurology professor, is keen to distance himself from the infamy of his grandfather’s experiments but, once he is shown the laboratory, he is powerless to resist the reanimation temptation. A new generation monster is soon very much alive and hilarious havoc ensues.
The leads combine acting, singing and dancing talent to bring the brightness and wit of Brooks’ music and lyrics to life. Sporting a mischievous madcap smile, Oliver Last is a wonderfully deadpan Frederick Frankenstein. Scarlett Winson brings perfect comic timing and sass to the role of his untouchable fiancée Elizabeth. Their brilliantly awkward rendition of ‘Please Don’t Touch Me’ is an early highlight.
Igor, the grandson of Victor’s loyal henchman of the same name, is a hump-backed wonder: Dominic White serves servility with a smile in a performance of great physicality. Sophie Towns, as saucy lab assistant Inga, delivers a yodelling masterclass in ‘Roll in the Hay’, an outrageous number full of double entendre in which she seduces Frederick.
Sensuality simmers under the surface in Katie Haywood’s stunning performance as Frau Blucher, the castle housekeeper who still holds a torch for Victor. A failed attempt to keep up with Inga’s acrobatics provides one of the comedy highlights of the night and her erotically charged performance of ‘He Vas My Boyfriend’ is husky perfection.
Channelling Boris Karloff’s 1931 performance, Jim Haywood’s turn as ‘The Monster’ combines perfectly timed slapstick with moments of genuine anguish as he is hunted by a mob of villagers. The subtle vocal variations in ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ are inspired and hilarious in equal measure.
The leads are ably supported by a cast crammed with talent; sets and costumes are fantastic. Film projections onto the back of the stage work brilliantly to transport the audience to Transylvania and the choreography is sharp throughout.
A joyfully zany production of a joyfully zany show. Monstrously good and highly recommended. Book now to avoid disappointment.
Young Frankenstein is playing at the Brewhouse Arts Centre in Burton upon Trent from 22nd to 26th November 2022.