The audience laughs uproariously, gasping for air as their limbs fly and they rock back and forth, shaking due to laboured breaths. Their actions are larger than life and the spectators revel in their freedom. Secure in their belief that no one can see them beneath the blanket of darkness. Hopeful, that others are as engaged as they are, and that their eyes are drawn more to the spectacle on stage than the spectacle beside them.
People usually don’t display their reactions as openly. Rarely will people allow others to see their true emotions, unfiltered and unplanned. Perhaps this is the true beauty of Theatre. In seeing actors be completely unbound in their actions, the audience can cast away their masks for a few hours and reveal flawed and imperfect people.
The evening began with a notification on a phone: ‘It’s your lucky day! Congratulations, you have won 2 lottery tickets to see today’s performance of Young Frankenstein.’ Though not a planned evening, it is one that promises a good time.
Sexual innuendos fly from the stage at a pace almost too fast to follow. Perhaps a tactic to keep the audience from questioning some of the darker jokes? Physical comedy ties each line together and jokes and comments are accentuated with a calculated caress of a prop or by striking a suggestive pose. Perhaps what keeps the audience so enraptured is the thrill of following the actors along this precipice of drowning virtue: balancing at the edge, one line away from falling over with a joke that can’t be taken back or ignored. Would the audience care though, or would it be passed off under the protection that art can bring?
‘Please Don’t Touch Me’ becomes a personal favourite and is received well as the audience cackle throughout the song. The glamour, grandiose movements, and gutsy humour delivered by the talented cast stun and amaze the viewers. The rest of the shows songs are met with the same rambunctious applause.
Suddenly the scene shifts to a Transylvanian backdrop with an over sexualized germanic village girl guiding Doctor Frankenstein to his castle along with Igor: A hunchback providing timely comedic relief. The tone for the humour has been set and those who have not welcomed this silly, sexual, and sometimes shocking humour will not have much to look forward to until the show ends. For those who relate to the humour and can laugh, if only out of disbelief that these jokes were made, a night of fun has only just begun as the monster is brought to life: A giant green monster who turns out a little differently to what the Doctor predicted.
The interval is cleverly placed for the audience to make guesses and predict what will happen to the monster and when the show continues people remain in high spirits. Seats are filled again and no one seems to have left during the interval, though more than a few people return with full wine-glasses. The show continues and everyone follows along with rapt attention. Laughs seem almost synchronised as the cast once more masterfully ensures that the audience reacts to each line and guarantee that Mel Brooks’s humour is understood and welcomed.
The show ends too soon for the liking of many in the theatre. The applause that meets the actors as the curtain rises is louder than any that night. The room seems divided at this point though as many people remain seated while applauding. Most however, stand to show the actors how much they enjoyed the performance.