Reviewed by Catherine Brown
Take a trip to Transylvania with the hilariously funny ‘Young Frankenstein’ currently being performed by the Little Theatre Company at The Brewhouse Theatre, Burton-on -Trent. Originally a 1974 film by Mel Brooks starring Gene Wilder, Young Frankenstein was then brought to the West End in 2017.
In New York, Dean of anatomy Frederick Fronkensteen (Ollie Last) is embarrassed to be connected to the original Victor Frankenstein, After learning that he has inherited his grandfather’s castle in Transylvania, Frederick takes a trip to the old property leaving behind his fiancée Elizabeth Benning (Scarlett Winson). There he meets Igor (what hump?) (editor’s note – played by Dominic White) and Frau Blucher – his grandfather’s original housekeeper and guardian of the original laboratory.
Despite hesitation from the local villagers anxious about what is going on in the castle, Frau Blucher manages to convince Frederick to use Victor’s brain surgery plans to bring a dead body back to life. The clumsy non-verbal monster that is created, played brilliantly by Jim Haywood, rampages through the area creating particular impact on Elizabeth who has travelled over to visit her fiancée. The monster also meets a blind hermit who attempts to share soup, wine and a cigar with disastrous consequences.
The script is littered with innuendo, causing constant giggles from the audience. ‘He was my boyfriend’ sung by Frau Blucher (Katie Haywood) and ‘Roll in ze hay’ sung by glamorous new assistant Inga (Sophie Towns) gave the most uproar due to both their lyrics and the visual suggestion from the actors.
The supporting cast coped well with the high energy choreography; taking the roles of Frederick’s students, the local villagers and putting on the ritz tap-dancing performers, particularly during lively songs such as Transylvania Mania. The backdrop and props are simple but effective, with the use of a projection screen to show the change of setting.
The Little Theatre Company are a group of amateur performers who have been established for over 30 years and currently put on 3 productions a year in the local area. The quality of the show was fantastic, having seen many shows by professional companies in larger theatres I really could see no difference in standard.
The Brewhouse Theatre, Union St, Burton-on-Trent DE14 1AA, is centrally located in Burton-on-Trent. The venue is always a pleasure to visit with friendly staff and a tiered seating auditorium. If you get chance, allow time to enjoy a drink in the cafe bar beforehand where they serve a selection of reasonably priced drinks. These can also be pre-ordered to be ready for you at the interval.
Tickets can be purchased from the Brewhouse Theatre Box office on 01283 508100 or at Brewhouse homepage | Brewhouse Arts Centre The show is running from 22nd- 26th November including a Saturday matinee and tickets start from £13 each.
Rating: I would highly recommend ‘Young Frankenstein’ with the disclaimer that you attend with an open mind. This show is not for the faint-hearted and does include occasional expletives and lots of inuendo! The laughs just kept on coming so I would definitely award the show 5/5.