Mel Brooks' musical based on his film.
8 pm Th April 26 and Fr April 27, 2012
On opening night of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein at the IU Auditorium, there were a couple of those huge new plastic brains displayed on the sidewalk. Inside on stage as part of the show there was a good sized brain in the head of a twelve foot tall puppet and throughout the evening there were continuous displays of the agile brain and wit of Mel Brooks.
Young Frankenstein is very much a traditional musical that makes its musical and choreographic bows to the whole canon. There is tap dancing to Cole Porter’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” a quartet of Transylvanian villagers that would have been right at home in River City, a wild dance scene that could have come out of Fiddler on the Roof and even nods to Andrew Lloyd Webber and fifties balladry.
Frankly, there are a few songs that outlive their welcome, but the action never stops in a bouncy, bawdy show that has more than a touch of Mel Brooks’ own lip smacking pleasure in the burlesque. The very musical cast was more than up to the athletic demands of Susan Stroman’s original staging and choreography.
A.J. Holmes was the wishy-washy Dr. Frankensteen at the opening and the considerably more resolute Dr. Frankenstein by the end. Elizabeth Pawlowski was sunny and endearing as his assistant Inga. By the way Pawlowski has done similar duty for Brooks as Ula in productions of The Producers. Pat Sibley, a veteran of roles like Aunt Eller in Oklahoma and the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz was a warmly frightening as Frau Blucher, the lady whose name alone is enough to scare horses.
The agile Christopher Timson was Igor (eye gorr), er Igor (ee-gorr) of the wandering hump. Britt Hancock was stiffly amusing as the village Inspector and hilarious as the soup spilling Hermit. LexieDorsett was the doctor’s initially frigid fiancée. Rory Donovan made a very eloquent Monster.