From cult-classic film to Toronto’s stage – Young Frankenstein dazzles while hitting the right spot on your funny bone
If you are not already a fan of comedian Mel Brooks, then this show – or any of his cult-classic film work – will not be for you. If however, you find his lewd goofiness entertaining, as I do, then be prepared to giggle throughout Alexander Showcase Theatre’s Young Frankenstein: The Musical, playing at the Al Green Theatre in the Spadina JCC.Young Frankenstein: The Musical is everything one would expect from Brooks, whose punny narrative uses cliché and double entendres to parody the monster movie cannon.
A young NYC neurologist is contacted when his mysterious uncle passes away in his village of Transylvania. Leaving his prudish fiancée behind, Dr. Frankenstein pronounced “Fronkensteen” arrives in Transylvania to wrap up his grandfather’s affairs, only to be enchanted by the evil darkness that lurks in the haunted castle and surrounding forest.
Reluctant Dr. Fronkensteen is greeted by a freakish servant, Igor – pronounced eye-gor – an eccentric house manager, Frau Blücher and a buxom laboratory assistant, Inga. When Dr. Fronk falls asleep in the study of his grandfather’s castle, he dreams of the possibility of further scientific discovery and becomes obsessed with resurrecting his grandfather’s research.
The dark and stormy scenario is masterfully achieved by set designer Peter Thorman, who integrates projections with painted surfaces to achieve depth while referencing the 1974 ‘moving picture’ original. The live nine-piece orchestra led by Gwyneth Sestito adds a rarely seen level of professionalism in independent music theatre productions.
The enormous cast of characters and chorus make full-company scenes delightful, literally filling the stage with townspeople in traditional Transylvanian garb. Andrea Brown is flawless as Frau Blücher and Bob Deutsch is a perfect hermit. His scene with the Monster was my favourite in the show.
My guest agreed that if you are the type to squirm after the flash of a bum or shrink at the sound of the word “tits” you aren’t a Mel Brooks fan. But once you know what you’re getting into, you’re in for a ride.
Aside from chronic microphone pops and bursts (which I’m trusting were part of the opening week bugs) Young Frankenstein: The Musical was a great way to spend an evening out.
- Young Frankenstein: The Musical is playing at the Alexander Showcase Theatre (750 Spadina Ave) till April 21, 2013
- Shows run Apr 11 to 14 and Apr 18 to 21 at 7:30pm and Sunday matinees at 2pm
- Tickets are $32, stu/srs $27
- Tickets can be purchased by calling 416-324-1259 or visiting alexandershowcasetheatre.com.