Want to howl with laughter? Walk this way-Young Frankenstein, Garrick, review

If you can overlook the fact that no, it doesn’t reach the same zenith of inspired zaniness as The Producers, the fact is that Brooksy has pulled it off. You somehow get the best of both worlds. The script (book co-written by Thomas Meehan) 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 child-friendly) doses of bawdy: “Though your genitalia has been known to fail ya, you can bet your arse on the brain,” warbles Frederick Frankenstein, the scientist so ashamed of his family past he pronounces it “Fronkensteen”.

This tongue-twisting, synapse-testing opening number sets the tone of affectionate pastiche, stitching the twitching limbs of old Broadway onto the skeleton of old Hollywood.

The most famous sequence in the film comes when the Creature inevitably brought to life when Frankenstein returns to his family lair in Transylvania performs Irving Berlin’s Puttin’ on The Ritz in top-hat and tails.

The routine proves as hilarious as is required here, a lumbering, green-faced Shuler Hensley combining doe-eyed sincerity with the sort of yowls usually associated with painful dentistry.

Hadley Fraser’s madly beaming Frankenstein and Geordie comic Ross Noble as Igor, his hunchbacked sidekick, form a sensational, strenuously hard-working double-act. 

They won’t – can’t – eclipse the memories, for fans, of Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman, but the shadows of those dearly departed stars don’t loom intrusively large either. Noble in particular – making his theatrical debut – is a revelation, courting physical injury by continually contorting himself inside his black cape, his moon-face combining low-level cunning with lobotomised gormlessness.

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