WAOS bring Mel Brooks comedy to the Witham Stage
The story of Frankenstein and his monster has lived in our cultural history for the past 200 years, with each generation bringing its own twist to the story of this man and his creation. I welcome you to the twenty-first century’s musical take on this age-old character. With the aid of Mel Brooks and his knack for parody, Young Frankenstein zaps a new breath of life into Mary Shelley’s story. The perfect mixture of horror, comedy, and musical frenzy, this production puts a beating heart into the pages of its original story.
The Young Frankenstein musical has a book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, and music and lyrics by Mel Brooks. It is based on the 1974 comedy film of the same name written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks who also directed and has described it as his best film. It is a parody of the horror film genre, especially the 1931 Universal Pictures adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and its 1935 and 1939 sequels, Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein.
I was warmly welcomed at Front of House by Donna Goddard and had the opportunity to speak with the Director/ Choreographer Nikki Mundell-Poole after the performance.
This was a very slick and accomplished musical production from this society from the very beginning. There was plenty of comedy and humour, double entendres and innuendo throughout performed by the large cast. There were lots of scene changes many projected onto a large video wall set within the overarching set of a castle/house. Props were introduced at relevant points eg furniture, direction signs (brain depository!) etc and I loved the control terminals for the monster. All very clever and innovative with scene changes achieved slickly and seemingly with minimum effort ! Sound and lighting, with special effects added much to the atmosphere. Costumes were attractive and in keeping with the times and setting and makeup throughout was most realistic.
Kris Tyler, as Frederick Frankenstein, was excellent in this major role with some great vocals throughout. Corrina Groombridge, as Elizabeth, the fiancé of Frederick, was a “dumb blonde” character with a powerful voice and magnificent stage presence. She impressed with her solos of “Please Don’t Touch Me” and “Deep Love”
Amy Pryce, playing the lab assistant, Inga, had a pivotal role in which she excelled.
Hazel Hole, MBE
A highly entertaining production. Everyone portrayed their characters well. The set was effective and cleverly done. Lighting was very good, and the mic and sound levels were eventually correct. The transitions from scene to scene were mostly smooth. The staging and choreography were of a good standard and the dancing was enjoyable. There were lots of elements I greatly enjoyed with many ‘laugh out loud’ moments. The band was wonderful and there were some very strong performances. I feel the pace and comic timing was lacking on a few occasions, but I found this production to be full of fun and you certainly all looked like you were having a great time!
It was a pleasure to watch you all. Well done WAOS!
Amanda Powell (Adjudicators)
Witham Amateur Operatic Society is lucky to have someone like William Hackett, who not only has the physique to play Dr Frankenstein’s Monster, but can also dance and sing and orate like Noel Coward.
He carried off all those things with aplomb, as well as grunting menacingly – and whispering sweet nothings sweetly – in the society’s production of Young Frankenstein at Witham Public Hall.
He was a late entry into the action, which up to that point had largely been in the hands of the doctor of the title, a commanding and confident performance by Kris Tyler.
Alongside an oleaginous Igor (Michael Mundell-Poole) and a bouncy and flirtatious Inga (Amy Pryce) the doctor had been preparing the audience to welcome his creation.
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.