The House Of Frankenstein - performed January 1995
By Martin Downing
Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French
Director - Chris Mason
Cast(in order of appearance)
Production TeamChris Mason, Val Taylor, Jude Hussey, Derek Butcher, Jenny Glayzer, Bruce Emeny, Maurice Barber, Paul Spendley, Greg Garrad, Alan Laurie, Becky North, Nancy Goldsworth, Kerry King, Christine Wheeler, Becky Longford, Rosamund Pettett, Viv Wheatley, Patience Ling, and other volunteers not mentioned.
Awards1995 Awards by the North East Essex Theatre Guild;
The PlayProduced in London in 1989. Baron Victor Von Frankenstein, bored with his attempts to give life to the lifeless, has turned his attention to curing the supposedly incurable! In a grim castle in the Carpathian Mountains he and his long suffering wife Elisabeth, the unsavoury hunchback Ygor, the Valkyrian Frau Lurker and the Monster play host to various mysterious and menacing denizens of the night (invited or otherwise) who visit the Baron to beg him to rid them of their vices. But this challenge, although a welcome diversion for the headstrong young scientist, proves to be no picnic ... more of a living nightmare!
ReviewsFolk with imagination would do well to avoid any patches of darkness coming out of this glorious blend of laughter and terror - a brilliant send-up of just about every classic horror story ever written. Those are merely tree branches swaying in the wind, and that elongated shape lurking distorted in the deep shadow is only a harmless domestic cat - or are they?
Chris Mason's directorial debut weights the balance of mock horror and helpless laughter just right, so that we are laughing our heads off while the merest frission of quivering, spine-chilling possibility haunts us.
The setting - all mullioned grey stone and secret panels with the classic element of the genre echoed in the
cob-webbed bar - are all reinforced by an evocative sound track, lighting plot and stunning costume.
A strong cast seizes the opportunity for send-up with zestful appetite, in individual and combination playing
of quality and a sense of opportunity and occasion. Peter Crotty's Baron Von Frankenstein weaves his half-baked plans
with telling blend of purpose and fanatacism. Rosamund Pettett is petite and decorative as his much tried wife.
Martin Rayner hunches and cowers his hump-backed way through Igor, inspired by his association the The Bells, The Bells.
The is a died-in-the-Nazi-woll interpretation of the goose-stepping Frau Lurker to match him in every Germanic
step of the hilarious way. Bill Chapman contributes an initially pathetic Monster that fairly demands sympathy
before achieving his later-day Oxford English conversion. Harry Talbot is given werewolf credence by Kevan Porter,
especially when transformed as the latter. Alison Trenerry is rapacity incarnate as the vampire Countess. Alan Wheeler
converts credibly from the Phantom of the Opera to Adolf Hitler look-alike with equal panache, while Nigel Lister
strikes his attitudes as Count Dracula with like effect. Linda Gatt's blond bombshell Isabel Channing is a telling
mixture of Marilyn Monroe and Dolly Parton, with her own sex appeal thrown in.
A mad scientist, a were-wolf, a vampire and a ghost are just some of the unusual characters currently treading
the boards at the Manifest Theatre in Manningtree.
All are currently appearing in the Manifest Theatre Group’s latest production – The House of Frankenstein.
This horror spoof must have presented the amateur thespians with one of their biggest challenges, yet once
again the group members have triumphed. As the first act unfolded, the story, not dissimilar from others of its type,
seemed more suitable for children’s television.
But gradually I found myself laughing at the improbable lines and getting more and more interested.
Over the top acting must be even harder than a straightforward part and it would be wrong to single out
any of the cast of ten, who were all splendid. However, anyone who can give life and character to a drinks
hatstand-cum-standard light when only able to grunt and put faces, deserves a special accolade – so ten out of
ten to Bill Chapman, the monster. Chris Mason, one of the group’s most popular actors, makes his debut as a
director in this play by Martin Downing.
Photo ShootIf you have any photos from this production, then please let us know.
Martin, Bill, Alison, Kerry