|Lucy Malacos, Kevin Profitt, Christopher Dinnan and Christy Horn|
review and photographsby janet i. martineau
Fair warning, mid-Michigan, if you slink out to see Pit and Balcony Community Theatre’s production of “Young Frankenstein -- the Musical,” visions of dancing the “Transylvania Mania” will swirl in your head from now through Halloween.
Forget about the famed “Monster Mash” song of my youth ... I am hooked on “Transylvania Mania.” It should catch on in a flash.
And Pit....well, methinks it has a box office smash with this Mel Brooks concoction based on his 1974 campy movie of the same name (and which was ranked No. 13 on AFI’s list of the 100 funniest American movies).
Funny....oh my god is it funny with its one-liners, double-entendres, sexual innuendo and sight gags spoofing the movie monster genre and the Frankenstein novel. There is an ill-timed game of charades. A kick line danced sitting down. A revolving hidden door that catches the leading man smack in the face. A monster dancing the soft shoe. A bed that rises into the air with an amorous couple, um, rising in it. A hay ride with horses. Moving humps on Igor’s back. We could go on.
And the choreography and general cast movement is TO DIE FOR... including, toward the end, an all-out tap dance routine filled with kids who have waited all evening for this one short number.
|Dinnan, Malacos and Horn|
We caught the final dress rehearsal on Thursday night (it opens tonight) and it was rife with some monstrous set change blunders, set change noise and lengthy scene changing.
But once those issues settle down -- and make no mistake about it this is one of the most complicated shows seen at Pit in ages -- this show will nail it in the entertainment factor.
Already Jim Gaertner’s rip-smart cast has has nailed it.
This is a physical, all-out show, full of bits of business needing near-perfect timing, and they never wavered on Thursday night.
Their facial expressions and body English were scene stealers all over the place. Their diction was generally clear and not rushed, with a few exceptions. They danced like pros. Sang well for the most part (again a few exceptions in this score with some new music not in the movie). And they navigated treacherous castle steps without breaking their necks.
To a one, they were in character and stayed in character -- in a show where being a caricature threatens because everyone is this show is wacky.
Standouts.....Greg Allison as Igor, the witty, slithering, stooped assistant to Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (played by Christopher Dinnan, who utters the line “Pardon me boy, is this the Transylvania station); Lucy Malacos as Frau Bluecher, the stern castle maven who desperately croons “He Vas My Boyfriend”; Kevin Profitt as the grunting monster on elevator shoes; Christy Horn as the slutty Inga enjoying a “Roll in the Hay”, Eric Schantz as the cocky town inspector; the ensemble in a variety of scenes.
Kudos galore to choreographer Candy (Brown) Kotze as well as director Gaertner; to music director S. Noel Howland; to set designer (and former Saginawian) Chris Largent ...wow, what a set); to the costume crew for an amazing bunch of rag-tag stuff.
Mel Brooks would be proud.
For more pictures from the show:
For more pictures from the show: