The Jewish Chronicle - - Arts & Books -

THE OLD adage about foot­ball man­agers — that it is bet­ter to be lucky than good — might ap­ply to stage pro­duc­ers.

Young Franken­stein, Mel Brooks’s latest Broad­way jug­ger­naut, rolled into New York last week and was met with mixed re­views. Ap­par­ently the throw­away hu­mour that made Brooks’s The Pro­duc­ers a record­break­ing hit is laid on too thickly and a touch too ob­vi­ously this time around. Maybe when it ar­rives in Lon­don, as it surely will, the show will have a lighter touch.

But with a mon­ster price tag of $450 (around £225) for a top ticket (pro­duc­tion costs have re­port­edly run to $16 mil­lion), Young Franken­stein was al­ways go­ing to in­vite a value-for­money judg­ment that did not ap­ply to the com­pet­ing shows on Broad­way (of which Note­book can par­tic­u­larly rec­om­mend the thrilling show Spring Awak­en­ing).

Yet the week af­ter Brooks’s show opened, most of its com­pe­ti­tion has closed down be­cause of a stage­hands’ strike that, at the time of writ­ing, has gone into its fifth day.

The in­dus­trial dis­pute has left only a hand­ful of Broad­way shows run­ning, one of which, to give the show its full ti­tle, is The New Mel Brooks Mu­si­cal Young Franken­stein.

Of the 35 Broad­way shows that should be on of­fer, only a few are left run­ning to tempt the pun­ters. Note­book does not doubt that Mr Brooks — who has said that God knows that Young Franken­stein is a great show and will for­give any­one who pushes lit­tle old ladies out of the queue in or­der to get a ticket — only wishes for a fair and swift res­o­lu­tion to the strike.

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