Live Review: Young Frankenstein, Garrick Theatre, WC2

If you are going to see Young Frankenstein please leave your political correctness antennae in the cloakroom. I counted three gags about breasts in the first fifteen minutes and the rest of the show is positively peppered with the kind of smutty humour that makes the Carry On films seems like Chekhov. And yet somehow this doesn't matter. In this age of triggers and safe spaces it feels a bit old school to say this, but you'll probably be laughing too much to care.

Then again 91-year-old Mel Brooks is unashamedly old school and it looks like he has another hit on his hands with this adaptation of his 1974 movie starring Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman. It's a smaller, trimmer production than his all-singing, all-dancing The Producers, but still a stylish, proper West End musical with plenty of bells and whistles, most notably when it does the full Busby Berkeley for Putting In The Ritz in the second half.

The plot - a send-up of classic horror films – is pretty simple. Frederick Frankenstein, the grandson of the original mad scientist, heads to Transylvania where he is persuaded by hunchbacked sidekick Igor (Ross Noble) to pick up where granddad left off and make another monster. Which he does with suitably comic consequences. And lots of jokes about extra big body parts.

There are countless highlights, with most of the main performers having their moments in the musical spotlight. Lesley 'Birds of a Feather' Joseph as housekeeper Frau Blücher gets her teeth into a Liza Minnelli/Cabaret homage, "He Vas My Boyfriend", while Hadley Fraser as Frederick is a bit of a song and dance man par excellence, handsome and comedic in equal measure.

But the real revelation is Ross Noble. He had a smaller part in the touring production of The Producers but here he is very much the co-star. When I interviewed Noble last month I wondered if the Geordie stand-up was stepping too far out of his comfort zone. How wrong I was. He's a good dancer, a good singer and a very good character actor, swooping around the stage like a giant crow and producing unlikely objects from under his cloak when you least expect it.

It shouldn't have surprised me but it was odd to see Noble, who can digress for England in his own shows, sticking to a script. But that's what he does here, apart for one exception. On the night I was in there was a technical hitch and the curtain came down during one of Frankenstein's speeches. When it rose, quick as a flash, Noble said "Master, as you were saying?" and got one of the biggest laughs of the night.

But there are plenty of gags in Brooks' script already. From the slapstick scene when the monster meets the blind man and gets boiling soup in his lap to sexy Fraulein Inge (Summer Strallen) smothering Frederick in innuendo during a bumpy journey on a hay cart. Young Frankenstein might be full of old gags but it's a hilarious ride from start to finish.

Booking until February 2018. Buy tickets here.

Picture: Manuel Harlan.

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