Monday, May 14, 2012

Play Review: Young Frankenstein

No movie this weekend. Instead we saw the touring production of "Young Frankenstein: The Musical".

If you haven't seen the movie then I should tell you a bit about it. It's not about Frankenstein when he was young. It's about his grandson, who has spent his life trying to live down his grandfather's reputation, being pulled, grudgingly, into the world of reanimating dead tissue from a Transylvanian castle. It's a comedy.

For the rest of you let me tell you about it.

We didn't get the regularly scheduled Frederick Frankenstein. Instead there was some guy who bore a striking resemblance to a young Martin Short. But, given that handicap, he was able to channel Gene Wilder several times during the performance.

Igor... well, he was not Marty Feldman. Nobody can be Marty Feldman. Although, I felt that the guy cast as the village idiot could have done a decent job. So did they, apparently. The playbill listed him as a stand in for Igor. The guy playing Igor when we went didn't come off as Igor so much as he did a slapstick version of Death from "The Seventh Seal".

The Creature was fantastic. Looked a whole lot like the Peter Boyle version and acted like him, too. And the highlight of the movie turned out even better on stage. The "Puttin' on the Ritz" part lasted the whole song with extra singing and dancing and some scat from The Creature.

I keep comparing the actors in the play to those in the movie. I don't mean to say it has to be done the same to make a good play. But when it was done right the first time it's hard to do anything but compare. Still, there was enough new material or scenes that were significantly different for the actors to shine on their own. The play explained what happened to the arm and the leg of that townfolk's constable. And there was a pretty good song and dance number with all the Frankenstein ancestors. Those aren't the only things, but it's 11:30 at night.

The tickets were expensive. I could have gotten cheaper seat and gone for general admission, but I was taking Yummy and I wanted good seats. What those tickets paid for was more than just the song and dance routine. The sets were impressive. I doubt the stage could have handled more backdrops. Many of the props seemed to just appear and disappear. Sometimes the stage was dark, but often they'd just get you looking at one thing while things changed elsewhere on stage. It was very well done. But when you need at least four semis to move the sets and costumes from city to city it better be.

Almost forget. Much of the cast, at least the secondary characters, had their microphones on their foreheads. They had to get off stage, change outfits, and get back on stage as a different person quickly and repeatedly. Putting the mic on their clothes would have been a problem. This fixed it, but made everyone look a bit like Clark Kent.

I'm glad that I saw this, but if I were doing it over I'd get the cheaper seats.

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