Advertisement

A splendid silliness animates ‘Young Frankenstein’

‘Young Frankenstein’

Drury Lane Theatre, Oak Brook, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace

Through March 16

$35-$49; dinner-theater packages available

(630) 530-0111 or drurylaneoakbrook.com

It’s not quite as gut-bustingly hilarious as the iconic movie, but Mel Brooks’ musicalization of “Young Frankenstein” is rich with belly laughs and a splendidly silly a way to pass a few hours.

The Transylvanian setting alone clues the audience in to the fact that is not a show to be taken seriously. As even the most casual of monster aficionados knows, Transylvania has about as much to do with Frankenstein as Schaumburg. Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula, called Transylvania home.

Frankenstein, according to the classic horror bio penned by Mary Shelley, never set foot in the eastern European country. But geographical accuracy is hardly the point here, and in the Drury Lane staging of “Young Frankenstein” the musical, Transylvania provides just the sort of ooky kooky spooky setting required to tell the full-bodied comic tale of recycling and re-animation.

Directed by William Osetek, “Young Frankenstein” is lewd, crude, stuffed with slapstick and stitched together by one of the most unlikely and endearing friendships since the rats/Willard alliance in the 1971 flick “Willard.”

As the play’s title implies, Brooks’ story picks up with the offspring of the notorious Dr. Victor Frankenstein, reviled in his homeland for unleashing an eight(ish)-foot tall yellow-eyed monstrosity on a small peasant village and the world.

“Young Frankenstein” introduces us to Victor’s grandson Frederick Frankenstein (Devin DeSantis), happily ensconced in New York where he’s the head of anatomy at the John Anthony Hopkins school of medicine. He’s changed the pronunciation of his name (the source of a running gag that never gets old) in order to distance himself from his grandfather and spends his days studying body parts (both those dismembered on lab tables and those attached to his fiance Elizabeth).

But a workable plot demands that Frederick re-enter the family business, and so he does, teaming up with a hump-backed henchman named Igor (Jeff Dumas) for further adventures in necromancy.

The plot (book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan) is an all but beside the point piffle; the narrative is simply an excuse for an amalgam of jokes at the expense of the zany characters on stage. And Osetek does zany well.

The 5-foot, 4-inch Dumas makes an ideal Igor, a bug-eyed sidekick with a hump that migrates from side to side as the play wends on. As the impossibly voluptuous lab assistant Inga, Allison Still has the requisite mile-long legs, fruit-on-a-platter décolletage and a sexuality-on-overdrive that’s overlaid by a genuinely sweet innocence.

As for the Creature, Travis Taylor is a gargantuan loveable lunk who brings down the house in black tie and tails for the soft-shoe tap extravaganza “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

And as the grim, hatchet faced Frau Blucher, Paula Scrofano steals every scene she’s in and turns in some of the best comedic work of her long career.

“Young Frankenstein” also looks terrific: Set designer Kevin Depinet works wonders in creating Frankenstein’s over-the-top laboratory, turning the Drury Lane stage into a chemist-on-crack’s wonderland of labyrinthine wheels, cogs flashing lights and levers.

If you’re seeking profundity and a thoughtful, provocative narrative, skip “Young Frankenstein” and crack open Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. But if you want to have a fine time yukking it up with a bunch of monstrously funny oddballs, make your way to Drury Lane.

0 Comments

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
Advertisement

Modal