Review: Young Frankenstein at MSMT

Posted Sunday, August 9, 2015 in Culture

Review: Young Frankenstein at MSMT

Igor tap dances his way into the villagers' hearts in "Young Frankenstein" at the Maine State Music Theatre. Photo by Ben McCanna.

by Gina Hamilton

Get set for a campy ride through Transylvania with "Young Frankenstein", drawn from the Mel Brooks' movie of the same name.

In "Young Frankenstein", the grandson of village terror Victor Frankenstein (Paul Aguirre), Frederick (who pronounces his name Franken-steen, played by Jerimiah James), learns of his grandfather's death and goes to Transylvania to settle his affairs and close up the castle. Frederick is not fond of the family "business" -- making monsters and terrifying villagers -- and has a respectable job as a brain specialist at an American medical school. But once back in Transylvania, he hears the siren song of creating life from dead matter.

Hilarity ensues.

Leaving behind his untouchable society fiancee Elizabeth, played by Jessica Lee Goldyn, Frederick falls into the arms -- almost literally -- of his new "research" assistant, Inga (Missy Dowse) and is seduced into at least considering making a monster by Igor (pronounced Eye-gor, played by Robert Creighton). He meets his housekeeper, the redoubtable Frau Blucher (Charis Leos), and soon encounters all his ancestors in a zany nightmare.

It doesn't take long for them to convince him to turn his talent to the dark side, and soon, all four living residents are on the hunt for a body and a brain. The saintly, kindly brain Frederick was hoping for was destroyed by Igor, replaced with "Abby ... somebody".

They bring him -- complete with his abnormal brain -- to life, and Elizabeth picks that inconvenient moment to turn up,  but the villagers, led by Inspector Kemp (David Girolmo) suspect that Frederick is up to no good, and decide to visit to see what is going on behind the castle's grim doors. The Monster (Timothy Hughes) picks that moment to wake up and is set free by Frau Blucher, while Igor desperately tries to keep the villagers busy with his tap dance number "Transylvania Mania".

And hiliarity ensues. Like any Mel Brooks vehicle, the show is pure camp, with a side of British pantomime (even down to the horses!) and some very robust floor shows. The scenery was inspired, and the dancing was superb. Don't expect a moral from this show -- there isn't one. But do expect zany laughs, a delightful cast, a great number of double entendres and Charis Leos' reliably hysterical performance.

If tickets aren't sold out by now, they should be. Visit MSMT.org for ticket information.

Oh, and did we mention that the 2016 season has been announced? The shows will be: Ghost, Fiddler on the Roof, Evita, and Mamma Mia. Time to buy those season tickets!

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