The House Of Frankenstein - performed January 1995

By Martin Downing

Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French

Director - Chris Mason


(in order of appearance)

Baron Victor Von Frankenstein Peter Crotty
Ygor Martin Rayner
The Monster Bill Chapman
Frau Lurker Kerry King
Baroness Elizabeth Von Frankenstein Rosamund Pettett
Harry Talbot Kevin Porter
Countess Ilona Bathory Allison Trenerry
The Phantom of the Opera Alan Wheeler
Count Vlad Dracula Nigel Lister
Isabel Channing Linda Gatt

Production Team

Chris 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.


1995 Awards by the North East Essex Theatre Guild;
  • Best Production: Director - Chris Mason, Production Manager - Val Taylor
  • Technical Achievement: Lighting - Bruce Emeny, Sound - Greg Garrad

The Play

Produced 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!


Folk 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 thinner audience than is usually the case loved every minute - but I noticed several ladies of my acquaintance holding more tightly than usual to their partners' arms as they left to face the night gloom outside....
Jimmy James

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.
Lesley Pallett

Photo Shoot

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Martin, Bill, Alison, Kerry