Mel Brooks’ musical version of his 1974 movie Young Frankenstein is a spoof of a spoof of a film adaptation of a classic novel. Fans of his film (Brooks thinks it’s his best) will be delighted that every quotable gag (“Big knockers!”) is lovingly retained in Baldwinsville Theatre Guild’s splashy production.
Derek Potocki, a handsome hunk offstage, plays the dancing, singing Monster in green face, just like the novel. The real monster is the nearly three-hour show itself, with 25 performers, 11 musicians, a dozen costume changes (everybody in tuxedos for “Puttin’ on the Ritz”), art deco-era scientific gadgets, skeletons, a train, an oxcart and a library wall that rotates on its axis. Everybody in charge is under age 40: director Heather Jensen, choreographer Korrie Taylor and music director Dan Williams. As the man cried out, “It’s alive! It’s alive!”
Baritone Henry Wilson, seen as Jean Valjean in March’s Les Miserables, plumbs his inner madcap as the title character, pronounced Victor Frahn-ken-STEEN. Wiry Josh Taylor delivers as Igor (Eye-gore), the humpbacked assistant. Taylor looks like the late Marty Feldman posing for Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” Along with carrying the principal dramatic burdens, Taylor and Wilson also designed and constructed the many-layers set.
Leila Dean, from Central New York Playhouse’s ultra-decadent The Wild Party, makes a triple threat as pigtailed Inga: Not only sexy, she knows how to tell jokes and can even yodel. Kathy Egloff, the busiest character actress in town, scores a career high with Frau Blucher’s Marlene Dietrich-esque “He Vas My Boyfriend.” In the thankless role of Elizabeth, the doctor’s rejected, buxom girlfriend, Molly Brown is literally a scream, entered last as the Bride of Frankenstein in a red wig. And as the pyromaniac Hermit, William Edward White sings on stage for the first time.
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild’s ‘Young Frankenstein’ runs October 30, 31 and Nov. 1, 2 at 8pm with a 2pm Sunday matinee at 64 Oswego Street in Baldwinsville.