Young Frankenstein

Date 28th May 2022
Society Sounds Musical Theatre Company
Venue Devonport Playhouse
Type of Production Musical
Director Amanda Paddison
Musical Director Kristy Marcer-Griffiths
Written By Mel Brooks

Report

Author: Ryan Procter

Thank you for inviting me to your production and may I say, what an absolutely exceptional warm welcome my wife and I received upon entering the theatre by an ever so friendly front of house team. What an excellent job they do at creating a warm atmosphere to all members of the audience arriving. We made our way to our seats promptly and were met by a fabulously well designed set by Andy Martin Productions. Andy always makes excellent use of the unique stage at the Devonport playhouse and this was no exception. The rotating wall to the laboratory worked seamlessly well!

Young Frankenstein is a new(ish) musical comedy based on the 1974 film of the same name by Mel Brooks. Grandson of the infamous Victor Frankenstein, Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced "Fronk-en-steen") inherits his family's estate in Transylvania. With the help of a hunchbacked side-kick, Igor (pronounced "Eye-gore"), and a leggy lab assistant, Inga.

It is always nice to see a live band in the pit and this show was led by the fairly new Musical Director Kristy Marcer-Griffiths who did an excellent job at leading this ensemble and indeed preparing the cast for the performance. It may be noted however that, perhaps due to an extensive break over the COVID-19 period, that some members of the cast were extremely reliant on the MD for their cues which meant that occasionally their focus was entirely on the pit and not toward the auditorium. It would be nice to build their confidence to be able to hear the cues and therefore maintain that engagement with the audience throughout as did happen for most of production.

Frederick was a strong performer who had great characterisation for this role. He was able to draw the audience in. Occasionally during his songs, the diction did get a little lost when singing a particularly fast and wordy section but overall he was a good singer.

“Please don’t touch me” sung by Elizabeth was hilarious and she hit the mark every time with her comedy throughout this song. Being a musical comedy it is essential that the cast responsible for these comic moments are able to deliver their lines correctly in order for the comedy to shine through, and generally this was the case throughout. The audience were well and truly laughing away at so much of the naughty adult humour that is littered throughout this production.

Victor appeared in the portrait in the Frankenstein home and he was remarkably still throughout this scene before “coming alive” to sing “Join the family business”. You could be forgiven for believing for a moment that he was a real painting and not a person as he stood so still. Victor was a strong singer and this song was delivered very well. It was a shame that Victor didn’t return back to his position in the portrait or exit where he had come from. This would have just given an extra level of consistency to this scene.

Inga was another very strong performer with excellent vocals. Her character was incredibly funny and characterisation was convincing.  Frau Blucher had me in hysterics with her solo of “He Vas My Boyfriend”. Dragging the chair in a tango-esque manner whilst walking with the finesse of an elephant had the audience in tears and was perhaps a show-stealing number.

The Monster was incredibly well done and the costume was outstanding. To deliver such comedy whilst not saying a single word for most of his time on stage is an absolute credit to his physical performance skills as an actor; And I really did laugh at lots of what The Monster did.

Igor had great characterisation and played this part excellently. I bet he had a bad back after walking with his hunched posture throughout show week!

The stage crew worked very effectively throughout and scene changes happened very slickly and allowed the pace of the show to keep pushing forward all the way to the end. Where suitable the director made excellent use of the cast to aid in these scene changes and again this helped to keep the performance moving.

Overall it was an evening filled with laughter and entertainment with the cast delivering all of the comedy throughout well with excellent set and costumes.

Congratulations on a great show.

Kind regards

   Ryan Procter

   District 3 Representative