Archikulture Digest

Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein

Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan

Music and lyrics by Mel Brooks

Directed by Christopher Niess

Choreographed by Mayme Paul

Starring Kyle Laing

UCF Conservatory Theatre

Orlando, FL</strong>

Note to UCF Conservatory Theatre: do more shows like this. After seeing a Broadway series production of “Young Frankenstein” at the Carr I had low expectations but, boy, did this show impress me. Mel Brooks took his funniest script and turned it into this stage show by humming the music to a composer. The result is an all singing, all dancing extravaganza. Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Laing) is set on escaping his grandfather’s legacy. It doesn’t take much to get him on the Transylvania Choo-Choo and rolling down track neunundzwanzig. He leaves behind his lovely, high maintenance, fiancée Elizabeth (Savannah Rucks) and plans to quickly clear the estate and bring home the cash. But when he meets his new lab assistant Inga (Amanda Hornberger), she sings him that traditional Rumanian courtship song “Roll in the Hay.” Here’s a girl that encourages touching, and when imperious Frau Blucher leads them to the laboratory Frederick is soon at work making a new tap dancing monster (Joey Herr). While the monster is rather stiff legged, Laing bends like rubber and taps like a machine.

There’s a ton of sets here but all flows smoothly. Laing is blessed with comic timing and dance skills, and he’s supported by a staff of equally talented swing dancers. I sat second row near the end; the sound was deafening when they reach the climax of “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Herr’s monster made do with well executed sight gags, particularly in the hermit scene with Jarrette Poore. When he spoke at the end, it was shocking that he had overcome his earlier vocal limitations so cleanly. Kent Collins’ Igor felt over played, but Miss Hornberger’s gleeful lust and Frau Blucher’s (Ally Rosenbaum) frigid frustration balanced nicely. That leaves the tall and elegant Ms. Benning; she was always the fancy dresser who acted like she belonged under a glass dome; it took a monster to show her how to hit those really high notes.

Good sets, good singing, and Busby Berkley energy dancing make this a top pick for this season. I went opening night with a room full of students taking notes, but there are still good seats open. Move quickly, this is science made way too much fun.

For more information on Theatre UCF visit http://www.theatre.ucf.edu


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