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Young Frankenstein - WAOS, Witham

Guest Reviewer - Christine Davidson

Photography Credit: Wild Bear Photography

Coming to visit WAOS is always a pleasure; the warmth of welcome from the Front of House team makes you feel part of a huge happy family. You also know when you come to one of their shows, you are definitely going to see a very professional production, this was certainly the case with Young Frankenstein. The musical comedy is based on the 1974 film by Mel Brooks, who also wrote the very successful show, The Producers.

Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced ‘Fronkensteen’ inherits the family estate in Transylvania. He has help from hunchbacked Igor (Eyegore) and a sexy laboratory assistant Inga. Frederick decides to reproduce his grandfather’s experiment of reanimating dead tissue and implanting a new brain in the body of a giant corpse but not all goes well.

This show is a huge challenge for any director but Nikki Mundell-Poole with the help of her assistant Aimee Hart came up trumps. This team obviously worked well together giving us great choreography, also making sure that annunciation and clarity of speech was clear for us all to hear. They obviously worked hard to help the cast come out of their comfort zone for the “naughty” scenes that prevailed during the show. This was a first class production with pace, energy and non-stop action.

This show is also very technically challenging with complex sets, including a revolving secret door, elaborate lighting and pyrotechnics effects, all of which definitely added to the whole show. Just a few lighting issues but as only second night I’m sure these will be ironed out. I still find stage left and right corners of the stage seem to have actors in the dark almost for every show I have seen there, I would love this to be overcome by the lighting designer. The backstage crew were amazing and so well organised. This show must have kept them very busy, so congratulations to you all.

Musical Director James Tovey and his team of eight delivered an excellent accompaniment to the cast and never once did I feel that they overpowered the singers on stage. Costumes and fantastic makeup including the prosthetics for the monster were super, as were the wigs by Patsy Page.

Kris Tyler as Frederick gave us a very energetic, loud, fun character. He kept his character and physicality constant on stage, while his singing and timing made him the perfect actor for this role. Gosh though he was loud! Maybe the sound operator could have brought his mic down a tad.

Michael Mundell-Poole as Igor (Eyegore!) leapt around the stage like a teenager. It wasn’t till the end that I found out he had broken two ribs. What a star to carry on and give us this hilarious character whose hump keeps moving from side to side. What a fun role to portray, which he did excellently.

Amy Pryce was the sexy yodelling lab assistant Inga, with a beautiful voice and a face to match. There was great humour in her portrayal, with very funny looks to the audience when needed during the hay cart scene. Lots of adult humour provided the audience with plenty of laughter. A wonderful yodel and fantastic portrayal. Absolutely brilliant!

Maeve Borges as Frau Blucher was a great surprise to me. Never having seen her before in a main role it was so good to see her really throwing herself into this character. The song ‘He vas my boyfriend’ was hilarious, a real show stopping number. She really went to town with her portrayal of her character all the way through the show.

Richard McNeill as Inspector Kemp whose character had the prosthetic leg and arm, did the role proud. Loved the limp as he walked around the stage and his accent was good.

Corrina Groombridge is always a safe bet to be cast on stage. With a belting operatic voice and a great talent to match she played the role of flamboyant Elizabeth Benning the fiancée to Frederick with verve and energy. I loved her rendition of ‘Please don’t touch me’ which she managed to make very naughty indeed! The audience loved it and so did I!

Keith Harman as the lonely blind Hermit came on in the second half with his poignant song ‘Please send me someone’. Very funny action with The Monster, trying to give him hot soup but pouring it into his lap and knocking the monster’s drink out of his hand. Good singing voice, a very enjoyable portrayal. Fantastic costume.

William Hackett played The Monster. Not an easy role to play during the show but he really did come across well. His tall frame was really suited to this role. In the final part of the show his wonderful voice was a pleasure to listen to. His tap dancing skills came to the fore in the number ‘Putting on the Ritz’ with Igor and the cast. I understand he had never tap danced before, so well done William for a great show stopping number.

Kudos must be given to all the dancers and tappers, who did a rousing, energetic job. The two young lads, Jenson Bacon and Kieran Wingrove, stood out with their dancing prowess on stage. I loved the Barbershop Quartet too. All the ensemble should be so very proud of their achievements as you all gave the audience a great night out.

We were so pleased to yet again be invited to such a professional show. Congratulations to all and I hope you have full houses for the rest of the run, as you truly deserve it.

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