Review: Burnley Light Opera Society's production of Young Frankenstein at Burnley Mechanics Theatre
and live on Freeview channel 276
And the audience I was part of for Burnley Light Opera Society’s opening night of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein’ at the Mechanics Theatre on Saturday clapped, cheered, laughed and ‘whooped’ throughout the entire performance, ending with standing ovation.
Yet again the society has pulled off an absolutely outstanding performance of a production that is fast paced, hilarious, raunchy, saucy and non stop from the moment the curtain rises. You may not be familiar with this musical but believe me when I say it should be up there with the classics.
Hats’ off to director and choreographer Anthony Williams and musical director Steven Mercer-Murray and also the amazing cast.
Ronan Pilkington plays the title role with perfect comic timing. He is in almost every scene yet never faltered. He had the audience in stitches as Frederick, the grandson of the late Victor Frankenstein. When Victor leaves him everything Frederick travels to his castle in Transylvania, determined to have nothing to do with the family’s notorious legacy. But he is soon persuaded to change his mind by Victor’s loyal henchman Igor (Mal Wood) beautiful lab assistant Ingar (Jenny Cliff) and housekeeper Frau Blucher. (Ann Mason)
I loved the interaction between the four actors in their several scenes together. Mal as Igor almost stole the show with his portrayal of the rogueish character who the audience loved. Jenny resisted the urge to go over the top with her character, and Ann’s performance was quite stunning and you could tell she was relishing it. Her many and varied facial expressions and powerful singing voice was outstanding.
Leanne Wharf’s casting as Frederick’s uptight and snobby fiancee Elizabeth was inspired. The role could have been written for Leanne who always manages to hold the audience in the palm of her hand whenever she is on that stage. Her character transformation was one of the highlights of the show.
Of course, the ‘star’ of the show is Rhys Alexander, the monster created by Frederick. Congratulations to the make up team for Rhys’ transformation. He is quite genuinely scary in some scenes but we also feel desperately sorry for him also and watching him dance in those built up shows is quite something. There are also a number of cameo performances that only add to the magic of this brilliant show. And full marks to the supporting cast who played villagers etc.
And of course, the set, costumes and lighting were also just amazing. The show is packed with some great songs and dance routines including a very different version of Irving Berlin’s ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz.’
I always say it but the show’s produced by this society could grace any professional stage. We have some astounding talent right here in Burnley so please give this show a go and support this tremendous society.
Other cast members included: Peter Gardner ( Inspector Kemp) Mark Wood (The Hermit) Graham Cheshire (Bertram Batram) Zoe Tompkins (Shadow tapper/Sylvia) Connal O’Reilly (Ludwig)
*The show runs this week Tuesday to Saturday (November 18th) with a matinee on Saturday. Tickets are available at -https://linktr.ee/burnleylightopera
*The show does contain adult themes and humour.