The Hayes Theatre Co is beginning 2021 with a full throttle Yodel and some crazy making musical madness with a new take on Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. The production is directed by Alex Berlarge (American Psycho The Musical) and stars Matthew Backer (Only Heaven Knows).
The show was supposed to premier last year but was put on hold. “It’s so great after 2020 to start with something so fun, slapstick and silly,” said Backer, who plays the title role of Young Frankenstein – the grandson of Dr Frankenstein, who created the monster in the first place. “I haven’t been on a stage for months and am chomping at the bit. I can’t wait to get back.”
Playing such a well known comedic role requires boundless energy, a resounding voice and great timing. Did I mention the play is also a musical? Backer is NIDA trained and his first big role, three months out of acting school, was as Frankie Valli in The Jersey Boys way back in 2011. He has worked steadily since then from Shakespearean roles with John Bell’s Shakespeare Company to short films (Whispers Amongst Wolves), and a role in the Australian TV series A Place To Call Home.
According to Backer, “To be a good actor, you have to live like an athlete but the work is not a race. I’m in it for the long haul.” A background in journalism has also helped his acting. “Journalism too is all about reading people and knowing how people work.”
Hayes Theatre has COVIDsafe systems in place and the audience must wear masks. “We have to figure out how we can operate as a society with these constant cages,” added Backer. Perhaps it is fitting then that this play about unleashing a monster and finding ways to live with it while trying to keep our sanity, normalises insanity.
Until March 20. Hayes Theatre, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point. $64-$77+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.hayestheatre.com.au