This lively and entertaining cast recording of the musical vividly brings the story to life.
To take a film and transform it into a musical is no easy thing to do but Mel Brooks has certainly managed to apply his trademark sense of humour and give Young Frankenstein a new lease of life by making his film into a sharply witty musical.
Through this cast recording, there is a great energy and enthusiasm that sweeps through each song and makes it a pleasure to listen to – even if some people might find some of the lyrics a little wince-worthy if they aren’t familiar with the work of Mel Brooks.
But this aside, this is a wonderfully playful show – with quite a few memorable songs including the brilliant ‘Together Again’ that really showcases the great chemistry between Hadley Fraser (Frederick Frankenstein) and Ross Noble (Igor). Its smart and catchy lyrics that show what a duo they make and it would be lovely to see them working together in something else at some point. Elsewhere, ‘Please Don’t Touch Me’ is a great song that showcases Dianne Pilkington’s wonderfully warm comic timing while highlighting the character’s diva like behaviour.
As much as the show is about parodying old horror films, with the music it feels as though the show also has a strong sense of classic Broadway about it – including a fun version of ‘Puttin’ On The Ritz’ that adds to the fun of the show -performed alongside a great tap dancing routine.
While songs such as ‘He Vas My Boyfriend’ lyrically may make certain listeners feel uncomfortable – Mel Brooks in doing so makes us confront our own attitude to difficult topics and makes us really think about them by using humour. It is a reminder of how comedy can be used effectively to make society think about important topics and perhaps help to initiate some change. Performed with great energy and passion by Lesley Joseph, it really shows the power of her performance.
Each song has been cleverly constructed to help push the story along, with the listener never losing understanding of what is happening in the story – helped with the addition of some of the dialogue that ensures the narrative is consistent and pacy. But equally, each song highlights how well formed each character is – in particular, ‘The Brain’ performed with great intensity by Hadley Fraser, captures Frederick’s passion and enthusiasm for science, while Summer Strallen’s performance of ‘Roll in the Hay’ shows the character Inga’s sweetness with a hint of naughtiness that is immensely likeable.
Overall, this cast recording was a reminder of just how much fun this show was to watch on stage and is immensely enjoyable from start to finish.
By Emma Clarendon
Young Frankenstein Original London Recording is available to buy and listen to now.