Take the spoofiness of Young Frankenstein. Add the zombie zaniness of Shaun of the Dead. Mix in dollops of Scouse humour. The result is a festive fright night packed with groan-able gags and a loony Liverpudlian plot that sees fiendish Dr Frankenstein unleashing his monster creation on the city from a dungeon beneath Lime Street Station.
A scene from A Nightmare On Lime Street at the Royal Court, Liverpool
The fourth Royal Court Christmas caper for grown-ups and older children written by Fred Lawless and the first in the theatre’s refurbished auditorium, this spooky scenario might have become a bad dream when, due to illness, guest star David Gest dropped out of playing the Monster before opening night. Stepping in to wear the Boris Karloff neck bolts, replacement Anthony Watson has saved Ken Alexander’s pacily directed production by simply making the green-faced creature a big American softie.
Some original Gest jokes grate, but the cast, featuring Michael Starke as a lovable ghostbuster and Mark Moraghan as the boo-able doctor, attack the comic horror genre with ghoulish glee while belting out songs ranging from Monster Mash to Devil Woman backed by a chorus of Thriller-style zombies. Mark Walters’ atmospheric sets transport them all from the bowels of the city to the top of the Liver Building in a show that is a monster success without its missing Gest.