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BWW Reviews: It's Alive! And Still Monstrously Funny! YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN Never Grows Old...

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It was Mel Brooks' runaway success with his musical version of 'THE PRODUCERS,' that inspired him to do the same thing with YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Fans of the classic, black and white horror spoof, will no doubt recall the story. Frankenstein's grandson, a brain specialist and American college professor, is called back to Transylvania to sort out his infamous grandfather's estate and, in the process, is inspired to 'join the family business.' Since this is Mel Brooks we're talking about, there's also a wacky assortment of love and lust interest, scientific fantasy and delicious nonsense along the way. Being familiar with the original YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN movie definitely adds to the enjoyment of the stage version. Apart from being able to identify with what's happening as the story unfolds, lines lifted directly from the movie, are scattered throughout the play.

The musical version of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, which opened at Albuquerque Little Theatre on October 11th, is energetic, colorful and brash, with full orchestral backing and a super size ensemble. It's not possible to recreate the environment of a vintage, black and white movie on stage, especially if you want the result to be loud, fast-moving and explosively colorful. So, although the story remains the same - and bears the unmistakable stamp of Mel Brooks all the way through - the musical is more of a comic book interpretation than an attempted reproduction of the original.

But that said, taken on its own merits, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN is both very funny and hugely entertaining. The talented cast, featuring Daniel Tabeling (Dr. Frederick Frankenstein); Dehron Foster (Igor); Fabianna Borghese (Frau Blucher); Jessica Quindlen (Inga); Stephen Balling (the Monster) and Stevie Nichols (Elizabeth) are all able to sing, dance and act with equal ease. The dance numbers (choreography by Desiree Lang) are original and performed by the ensemble with infectious enthusiasm.

The sets, ingeniously designed in sections and on wheels, are very convincing and make scene changes swift and easy. And lighting is skillfully manipulated, to great effect, all the way through.

All in all, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN delivers a dose of monstrously good entertainment, which is guaranteed to lift your spirits. But - a word of warning - this is not universal family fare. The content is frequently 'R' rated, so you may want to leave the little ones at home.

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN is playing at the Albuquerque Little Theatre (www.albuquerquelittletheatre.org) through November 3rd.

Photograph courtesy of Albuquerque Little Theatre.


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From This Author Anya Sebastian

Anya Sebastian is a Santa Fe-based freelance writer, award-winning broadcaster and a Brit who began her career as a BBC reporter in London. A graduate (read more...)