Q&A with Young Frankenstein's Summer Strallen

Q&A with Young Frankenstein's Summer Strallen

Updated On: May 1, 2018
By Nicki McIntyre
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    We recently caught up with Summer Strallen, who will play 'Inga' in the upcoming production of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein at the Garrick Theatre this September, alongside Ross Noble, Lesley Joseph and Hadley Fraser.

    The last West End show you were in was Top Hat back in 2013. How does it feel to be returning back to London?
    Summer Strallen: I’m super excited! I had to take myself away to really begin to appreciate it. The West End is an incredibly energetic and vibrant place to work, especially as an artist.

    Starring in a show based on a Mel Brooks film must be exciting. Have you got a favourite Mel Brooks film and why?
    Summer Strallen: I didn’t quite realise how many brilliant films his comedy majesty Mel Brooks had actually made until I was being cast as Inga. After watching ‘Young Frank’ (in the West End we always abbreviate the shows we’re in!) I then started to watch the rest of them. As you can imagine it was really ‘hard’ to do this research!

    The show is based on the hilarious 1974 film. Have you seen it and did you ever imagine that you would be starring as Inga in the stage version?
    Summer Strallen: When the casting came in I knew that Susan Stroman had played Inga on Broadway and having both played ‘Janet van de Graff’ in The Drowsy Chaperone and knowing we have a similar skill set I thought I would want to be seen. I happened to be in New York when my agent called to ask if I’d be interested in having a meeting with her royal director highness Susan Stroman and his comedy highness majesty Mel Brooks, there was no way I could not take that opportunity and the rest is history. (I choose to call them by their unofficial yet still very valid titles).

    The show stars Ross Noble, Lesley Joseph, Dianne Pilkington and Hadley Fraser. Have you met any of your co-stars yet?
    Summer Strallen: I have met all of them and I think I may have to do some before and after shots of my abs as I think I may have a six pack.

    How does it feel developing a well-known character from screen to stage?

    Summer Strallen: Well… having recreated ‘Maria’ in The Sound Of Music it’s kind of a skill I feel I’ve honed! Hahahaha – I’m joking. It’s always an odd feeling as one knows that the audience may come in with a preconceived idea of what they might want to see but that’s where the fun for an actor begins. It is my job to help them feel satisfied that what they know is honoured but then to also make them fall in love with the different and new spin I can bring to the character. (Side note: my stomach just did a back flip at how excited I am to do that! Aaaah!).

    What’s your favourite Inga moment?
    Summer Strallen: I don’t know yet!!!

    How does the stage show differ from the film?
    Summer Strallen: Well firstly I’d say it’s on stage and not on film, so that’s different.

    Mel Brooks’ humour is legendary – do you have any tips or tricks for keeping a straight-face on stage?
    Summer Strallen: Hmmm... I think of the audience and how they’re seeing the show for the first time. Unless they’re in on the joke then I wouldn’t want them to feel like they just don’t get it. Comedy is inclusive. As soon as the audience feel excluded you’ve lost them! Part of why I’m an artist is to make people feel like they belong. We’re all in the same club and we’re all laughing at and with each other. That’s the best kind of club!! #Laughingclub #ilovehashtags.

    Can we expect a yodelling number from Inga?
    Summer Strallen: Yodellaaaaayyyyyyyyeeeeee!!!!!!

    Book your Young Frankenstein tickets today!