BWW Reviews: Mel Brooks Musical of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN Wicked Fun at DOMA

BWW Reviews: Mel Brooks Musical of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN Wicked Fun at DOMA

Young Frankenstein/book by Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan/music & lyrics by Mel Brooks/directed by Marco Gomez/choreographed by Angela Todaro/DOMA at the Met Theatre/through November 16

I revert to childhood when I see a Mel Brooks movie or show. The sillier the better: the sight gags, the double entendres, the more the merrier. The New Mel Brooks Musical, Young Frankenstein is a real rip-roaring hoot of a show from start to finish as produced by DOMA with a great cast and zippy fast-paced direction and fine staging from Marco Gomez.

When the show played New York, it fared poorly with critics and many audiences claimed emphatically that it just wasn't worth it, so not to waste your money and time. New York is hard on Hollywood people, so the claims seem extreme, unfounded and unfair to the sense of humor that the piece puts out. If you like Brooks' zany, campy over-the-top, fantastical satire, you can't help but love it. All the famous lines from the film are intact, and the songs add extra flair. Of course, the film version is incomparable. No one can replace Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman and Marty Feldman. They all gave superb performances for the camera. Leachman's Ovaltine scene is so memorable because of the subtle things she did with her eyes and voice. On stage, the performance must be bigger and broader. Wilder had a unique delivery that relied on a look with his eyes, as did Marty Feldman... one smile with those bulging Feldman eyes was enough to make anyone fall off his seat. However, the stage show has to be even wilder and grander in scope and has its own set of pluses to delight.

BWW Reviews: Mel Brooks Musical of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN Wicked Fun at DOMA

Take for example this delightful cast. John David Wallis makes Frederick Frankenstein totally his own with his dead.on deadpan delivery. Scott Seiffert is physically and comedically hilarious as Igor and Hector S. Quintana makes the Monster an agile and lovable piece of work. Dan Spector is a hoot as Inspector Kemp and Bobby Reed as the lonely Hermit is another deliciously funny actor who has a ball with the oddity of the role. His "Please Send Me Someone" is spot.on believable and hilarious. All the ladies make the female characters distinct. Susan Huckle is a delight as Inga, luscious and vulnerably winning, Toni Smith is stunning as Elizabeth and really pours out her feelings in "Deep Love". Michelle Holmes is simply great as Frau Blucher. Her over-the-top diva is the typical Brooksian woman, full of sexual mischief - a real spitfire. She takes even more risks with her aggressive moves like hitting Frederick's bottom as well as squeezing Elizabeth's breasts. Her "He Vas My Boyfriend" hit the mark without going over the top. The entire ensemble work magic under Angela Todaro's quick, flashy choreography, especially noted in "Puttin' On the Ritz", "Join the Family Business" and "Transylvania Mania".

BWW Reviews: Mel Brooks Musical of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN Wicked Fun at DOMA

Endless praise as well to John Iacovelli for a dynamite scenic design, to Brandy Jacobs for fine period costumes, to Jean Ives-Tessier for some terrific lighting effects and to Julie Ferrin for sound design. An appropriate set is so vital to the success of this kind of show. The laboratory with its gadgets and operating table, the castle exterior, the scary woods, the quaint old streets of Transylvania Heights - it's all here in simplistic form, except the castle staircase, thanks to Iacovelli's genius.

Brooks' music , like his songs for The Producers, are tuneful and upbeat. They titillate while we're listening, even if we do not hum them the next day. His strongest suit is his book. I like how he gives Frau Blucher more involvement with the other characters throughout, and the edge-of-your-seat finale at the gallows where The Monster takes control and saves Frederick's life.

BWW Reviews: Mel Brooks Musical of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN Wicked Fun at DOMA

"Woof! It's going to be very popular." sort of sums up the whole proceedings. Young Frankenstein should sell out houses for DOMA. This is a giant, crowd-pleasing show that will tickle your funny bone, or at least make you smile about every five seconds.

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From This Author Don Grigware

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