Previewed 28 September 2017 Opened 10 October 2017, Closed 25 August 2018 at the Garrick Theatre in London
The West End Premiere of Mel Brooks' musical comedy Young Frankenstein in London
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.
The cast features Hadley Fraser as 'Frederick Frankenstein', Lesley Joseph as 'Frau Blücher', Ross Noble as 'Igor', Dianne Pilkington as 'Elizabeth', Summer Strallen as 'Inga', Patrick Clancy as 'Inspector Kemp' and Shuler Hensley as 'The Monster' with Imogen Brooke, Matt Crandon, Bethan Downing, Nathan Elwick, Kelly Ewins-Prouse, Andrew Gordon-Watkins, Sammy Kelly, Perry O'Dea, Richard Pitt, Harriet Samuel-Gray, Gemma Scholes, Emily Squibb, Matthew Whennell-Clark, Aron Wild and Josh Wilmott. Cast subject to change without notice. Directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman with sets by Beowulf Boritt, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Ben Cracknell and sound by Gareth Owen. Adapted for the stage from the film Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan wth music and lyrics by Mel Brooks.
When this production opened here at the Garrick Theatre in October 2017, Michael Billington in the Guardian thought "it offers an evening of gloriously impure fun... Susan Stroman, as director and choreographer, orchestrates the extravaganza perfectly... two-and-a-half hours of time-suspending pleasure." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard wrote: "It's an old-fashioned and unsubtle entertainment - often puerile and sometimes hell-bent on causing offence, but packed with moments of zany silliness... There are darts of wit in unexpected places, as well as a bawdy delight in some truly awful double-entendres. Even if there's a tendency to milk good jokes dry, it's hard not to succumb to the infectious daftness of this escapist crowd-pleaser." Ann Treneman in the Times noted that "it's tremendously old-fashioned, the stage so crowded with double (make that triple) entendres that I'm surprised there was room for the cast. It's unashamedly politically incorrect." Neil Norman in the Daily Express said that "there is something to offend everyone in this musical version of Mel Brooks' parody of old Hollywood horror movies... Admittedly some of the jokes were old when Vaudeville was young but it would be a sourpuss indeed who didn't crack a smile at the cheek of it all." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times commented how "Susan Stroman is consummate at musical theatre, and skilfully unites her cast... Mel Brooks's songs are jovial, but nothing to make you want to get on your feet. It's a solid bet for an evening's fun, but hardly the kind of landmark that rears up atop a stark Transylvanian crag." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph explained how "the script fillets the original for many of its best gags, while the song-and-dance routines amplify the spirit of the beast without distorting it. The lyrics are as spry as director Susan Stroman's witty choreography, with healthy (not entirely childfriendly) doses of bawdy... very silly, and entirely welcome." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper highlighted that "Mel Brooks's musical makeover of his classic 1974 horror-movie spoof is deliriously silly and shameless from the start. That's its appeal. It has no aspirations other than to unleash laughter. On that front, it's a signal success... Susan Stroman, who directs, is so witty and inventive in her choreography that she sometimes arguably steals her own thunder... The British cast is first rate."
Hadley Fraser's London theatre credits include Harlequinade at the Garrick Theatre in 2016, City of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse in 2014, The Fantasticks at the Duchess Theatre in 2010, The Far Pavilions at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2005 and The Pirates of Penzance at the Savoy Theatre in 2004. Ross Noble has presented his stand-up shows in the West End for a number of season including Ross Noble: Things at the Apollo Theatre in 2009, Ross Noble: Noodlemeister at the Apollo Theatre in 2004 and Ross Noble: Unrealtime at the Garrick Theatre in 2003. Summer Strallen's London credits include Top Hat the Musical at the Aldwych Theatre in 2012, Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre in 2010, The Sound of Music at the London Palladium in 2008 and The Drowsy Chaperone at the Novello Theatre in 2007.
Susan Stroman's West End directing and choreography credits include Mel Brooks' musical The Producers (Drury Lane Theatre 2004) and the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical The Scottsboro Boys (Garrick Theatre 2014). Her choreography credits include Harold Prince's revival of the Hammerstein and Kern's Show Boat (Prince Edward Theatre 1998) and Trevor Nunn's revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! (National Theatre's Olivier Theatre 1998 and Lyceum Theatre 1999). In addition she choreographed and co-devised with John Weidman the dance show Contact (Queen's Theatre 2002).
"The musical of Mel Brooks's 1974 spoof horror begins stupendously. At the Anthony and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Hadley Fraser's brilliant Dr Frederick Frankenstein (he prefers "Fronkensteen" to distance himself from his notorious forbear) sings "There is nothing like the brain" to his students. News arrives that he has inherited a Transylvanian estate, and he boards the Queen Mary Shelley for Ruritania. Some expense has been spared on the designer Beowulf Boritt's backdrops, but the Broadway director-choreographer Susan Stroman has assembled a cracking comic cast... The goofy, goodhearted, sprightly action flags when Young Frankenstein follows its original source too closely, while near-knuckle gags about knockers, monster schlongs and even rape/seduction are, at best, old-fashioned. Still, at its most outlandish, this is a hoot - and a winningly silly distraction." The Sunday Times
"Mel Brooks has performed major surgery on the piece for this British cast reanimation... [and] has pulled off a revival that's funny, frenetic and with the smutty fingerprints of a man who once proudly declared that 'my movies rise below vulgarity'... As the monster, Shuler Hensley blunders about hugging the air. His only song is the soft-shoe shimmy Puttin' On The Ritz. The number is opened up into full Fred Astaire mode with toppers and tails. The monster's choric yells of 'sooper-dooper' are drowned out by the audience howling. Susan Stroman's choreography elsewhere is routine, maybe because some of the songs feel like filler. But complaints don't really stand in the way of a show that fires up the laughing tackle like no other in the West End. It's an incorrigibly silly, brainparking night out, sufficiently stuffed with the old Mel Brooks magic to get away with it." The Mail on Sunday
"Mel Brooks' fans get exactly what they expect. You can feel comedy's 91-year-old living legend in every madcap second of this musical, his and Thomas Meehan's adaptation of his 1974 horror movie spoof... The surprise is comedian Ross Noble, making his West End musical debut as Frankenstein's hunchback assistant Igor. Dressed in a black medieval cassock, he is the funny-as-hell foil to Hadley Fraser's serious brain scientist Frankenstein. 'That's Fronkensteen' Fraser's character insists, keen to distance himself from his crazy grandfather and his notorious experiments. Brains, not dead bodies, are Frankenstein's - sorry, Fronkensteen's - thing. Cue the lyric 'There is nothing like a brain', sung to a tune not a million miles from that South Pacific classic 'There Is Nothing Like A Dame'. The other surprise, for those who didn't know, is that Brooks is a brilliant songwriter... Young Frankenstein wasn't quite the monster hit of Brooks's other screen-to-stage adaptation The Producers when it ran on Broadway. But the show packs more laughs into the first 20 minutes than most manage in hours. There are two kinds of running gag that define a Brooks production: one is full of sophisticated vulgarity; the other is that, deep down, everyone wants to be in a musical. Even the monster sings and dances in a top hat and tails. If he wasn't green, it'd be comedy gold." The Metro
Young Frankenstein in London at the Garrick Theatre previewed from 28 September 2017, opened on 10 October 2017 and closed on 25 August 2018