Reviewed by Lesley Bacon for The Croydon Advertiser
Let’s be Frank…
The latest in a long line of Christmas productions of a macabre bent, “The Frankenstein Monster Show” is this year’s offering from Theatre Workshop Coulsdon. One has to be honest and say that the script is not very good and the songs not especially tuneful. Still, it’s a reasonably good idea based around the B-movie horror spoof musical seen at its best in “The Rocky Horror Show.” Chris Argles production seemed undisciplined and under-rehearsed in parts, but this might prove unfair judgement of a first night. The evening I was there, inanimate objects were in rebellion with guns refusing to fire at crucial moments and lighting raising and lowering erratically or not coming on at all. Richard Lloyd was in good voice as Frank Enstein, an American descendant of the original and a chip off the old block when it comes to re-animation. His plans to build an empire founded on a production line of re-animated humans (as a cheap alternative to robots) are aided and abetted by the faithful retainers of Enstein Hall. Tim Young was all manic subservience as Igor, the hunchbacked manservant, but Lesley Argles’ sensibly dressed housekeeper was not really in keeping with the genre. Boris, the monster, is more laid back than Mary Shelley’s tortured original although with the same pre-occupation for a bride! Simeon Dawes, in a superb make-up by Lee Wilkinson had excellent presence and delivered his songs with style. Maintaining a steady supply of bodies (American tourists prove ideal fodder) falls to Messrs Burke and Hare. Paul Ford and Pete Gregory provided a likeable Irish double act. Vikki Carrington made a sultry siren of their bigamous wife with designs on Frank. The goodies of the piece also have famous ancestors – although what they would have made of Sherlock Holmes Jnr (positivel certifiable as played by Tim Warner) and Dr Watson is anybody’s guess. Wendy Cole as the latter and Andy Guilbert as the nice young solicitor provide the love interest and their duet, with its fifties style male vocal backing, was great fun. Further performances can be seen at Coulsdon Youth and Social Centre, Chipstead Valley Road, tonight (Friday) and Saturday at 8pm.
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